Moments ago, space shuttle orbiter Atlantis embarked on its final mission into space. This mission marks the final launch in the 30-year history of NASA’s shuttle program. The accomplishments of the shuttle program are numerous and invaluable, and the central role Houstonians played in the program is unmistakable. The space shuttle has helped the U.S. maintain its position as the world leader in aeronautic and scientific innovation. Today’s final launch marks not just the end of over 30 years of work and progress in these endeavors, it also celebrates the accomplishments of generations of Houstonians. Looking to the future, Houston stands ready to lead the next generation of Americans further into the unknown depths of space.