Science & Exploration

Roberto Vittori

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Space Shuttle

“I’ve flown in space twice before on Soyuz, but its my first flight on the Shuttle, so that’s the way I look at it. I know Endeavour is scheduled for its last flight, and it seems strange to me because when you see the spacecraft close up, it looks brand new. I know it’s over 20 years old, but it seems still in perfect shape.

“The Shuttles are just the first examples of future hypersonic machines so, although we expected to retire them, the question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’ there will be a new vehicle similar to the Shuttle. From a pilot’s standpoint, one of the most interesting areas for me is hypersonic flight and the Shuttle is the only vehicle capable of flying in this region.

”So I don’t think of the ‘last Shuttle flight’, I see the Shuttle as a prototype of transport for future generations. As a test pilot, it will be very exciting to be part of expanding this hypersonic experience.”

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