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Tue, Jun 07, 2011

NASA Administrator Bolden Opens Exploration Symposium

Focus Is On Space Shuttle ... And What's Next

NASA and the Georgia Institute of Technology will review the achievements of the agency's Space Shuttle Program and look ahead to the future of space exploration during a symposium this week.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Georgia Tech is hosting "The Space Shuttle: An Engineering Milestone" at the university's Global Learning Center at 84 5th Street NW in Atlanta, through Wednesday. The symposium has brought together an international group of scientists, technologists, engineers, mission designers, policymakers and students to discuss the shuttle era's significant contributions and exchange ideas about the future of space transportation.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will open the symposium on Tuesday, June 7. Other speakers include agency personnel such as astronaut Shannon Lucid; Bill Hill, assistant associate administrator for the Space Shuttle Program; and Michael Gazarik, deputy chief technologist.

"The Space Shuttle Program has accomplished many amazing things for the entire world," Bolden said. "Not least of which is the construction of the International Space Station, which will anchor our human spaceflight activities for the coming decade. It will provide unparalleled opportunities for critical research and technology demonstrations that will help us reach destinations farther in the solar system."

Speakers will highlight some of the many scientific discoveries about Earth, the solar system and the universe enabled by the shuttle program and how it has advanced technology and affected peoples' lives across the globe.

"The space shuttle program is an engineering accomplishment no other country has been able to duplicate," said Robert Loewy, conference chair and Georgia Tech professor of aerospace engineering. "The symposium is intended to honor those who contributed to the design, construction, operation and scientific data-taking that the three decades of the shuttle's operation have made possible."

The shuttle program has spanned 30 years of operation, and its last flight will be the STS-135 mission targeted for a July 8 launch. The five orbiters, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, have flown more than 130 times, carrying more than 360 people into space and traveling more than 500 million miles. Designed to return to Earth and land like a glider, the shuttle was the first successful reusable space vehicle.



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