Miles O’Brien: ‘Mixed Emotions’ Surround Final Space Shuttle Launch

BY Jenny Marder  July 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM EDT


The space shuttle Atlantis launch will mark the last liftoff for NASA’s shuttle program. NASA photo.

Miles O’Brien has covered 40 space shuttle launches. He led CNN’s coverage of the loss of space shuttle, Columbia, and he co-anchored astronaut John Glenn’s return-to-space mission with television news legend, Walter Cronkite. He’s reported on Hubble repair missions, Mars rover missions and shuttle dockings at the Russian Mir space station.

And it’s with “mixed emotions” that he readies this week to report on the final liftoff of NASA’s last remaining shuttle, Atlantis. Hari Sreenivasan caught up him during a calm moment this week at his Cocoa Beach hotel, near Cape Canaveral, Fla.


A grim weather forecast threatens to cloud plans for Friday’s scheduled launch. But weather permitting, space shuttle Atlantis will blast off from its Kennedy Space Center launch pad on Friday at 11:26 am, bound for the International Space Station for the final time.

O’Brien filled us in on the fate of the industry built around the retiring space shuttles, the thrills and tragedies of the storied shuttle program, and whether it was worth the $209 billion that the agency has spent. Plus, Miles gives us a quick tour through his most memorable moments.

We will have LIVE coverage of the launch of Atlantis right here on the Rundown. The NewsHour will also be live streaming the shuttle launch here. And you can watch Miles O’Brien’s live webcast for spaceflight NOW here.

Plus if you have questions about the end of the shuttle era or what’s next for human spaceflight, leave them in the comments section or tweet them @newshoursci.