Dear Space Shuttle,
In 1977, about the time the Enterprise (OV-101) flew on its own for the first time I was preparing to enter Kindergarten. By the time the Columbia (OV-102) made its first spaceflight in 1981, I was a 3rd grader.
Now in the midst of my 39th year, after 135 missions and 31 years of service, it’s time to bid you a fond farewell. I’ve witnessed a breathtaking Endeavor (OV-105) launch at Cape Canaveral, held my breath for Challenger (OV-099) and Columbia, and sighed with wonder and relief as you all returned home. Each mission you undertook widened our view and deepened our knowledge of this universe.
What a thrill it’s been to grow up with you. You’re the first thing I can remember thinking was a true sign of the future. Every launch, every orbit, and every landing fired my imagination and filled me with awe. You will be truly missed.