NASA Finally Comes to Town

Monday, April 23, 2012 — During the thirty-year lifespan of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, there was always a possibility that a shuttle might land on Pease Air Force Base’s 11,321-foot runway.

That never did happen, which was fine with NASA because it would have meant that a mission had not gone according to plan.

Portsmouth Harbor is currently sheltering a different sort of NASA vessel — two, in fact: Freedom Star and Liberty Star. The twin ships, which would be visible on this webcam were it not for the fog, were used throughout the life of the shuttle program to retrieve the system’s reusable booster rockets. [Above: Freedom Star, with a booster alongside. Photo: NASA.]

The ships arrived last night and are expected to be here until Friday. Then they will set out for a location somewhere to the northeast, to support Monday’s scheduled launch of the privately-owned SpaceX Dragon, whose intended destination is the International Space Station.

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