Boldly Gone

The Space Shuttle was officially retired in July 2011 with the completion of Atlantis’s last mission. Atlantis had been in service for twenty-six years; having first flown in 1985. The inaugural launch of the Space Shuttle took place on 12 April 1981, when the orbiter Columbia lifted off from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, at the Kennedy Space Center.
Despite some notable setbacks, especially the loss of Challenger and Columbia and a total of fourteen brave astronauts, in its thirty years’ service NASA’s Shuttle proved that the concept of reusable space ships were more than just science fiction. Indeed, without the Shuttle the International Space Station simply wouldn’t exist as the large orbital base it is today. Come to think of it, without the Shuttle, the 1979 James Bond movie Moonraker would have been missing a key component of the plot. And yes, other than with a concern for feminist issues perhaps, 007 was always ahead of the game; the Bond movie featured the Shuttle years before its first flight...
Space ships and astronauts, not to mention aliens, ray guns and intergalactic time travel, have long inspired toy makers and the advent of the Shuttle was manna from heaven for manufacturers on both sides of the ‘pond’, Corgi and ERTL being perhaps the preeminent companies in this field. 

ERTL Space Shuttle with boosters and on top 747  100 dpi cropped 1_0223 copy.jpg
ERTL Space Shuttle with Satelitte 100 dpi SQ square crop_0256 copy.jpg