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(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

End Of An Era

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – For most of the past 30 years, NASA has etched memories into the minds of Americans with each of the 135 launches of the space shuttle program. From the iconic first flight, to the tragedies of Challenger and Columbia; everyone remembers something about the shuttle program.

When shuttle Atlantis lifts off for the final time Friday morning, it will mark the end of the program and an era in American space flight.

While some memories of the average shuttle flight may fade, the Challenger disaster remains a moment when almost every American remembers where they were when the shuttle exploded as it was throttling up after liftoff.

Here at CBSMiami.com, senior web editor Lisa Cilli remembered being at the University of Florida in Gainesville and being able to go outside and see the smoke from the explosion in the sky. Digital media executive producer Dave Game recalled being in Cape Canaveral just 24 hours after the explosion.

I recall sitting in a doctor’s office in NASA’s birthplace, Huntsville, Alabama, listening to a breaking news bulletin on the radio saying the shuttle had exploded.

But just as everyone remembers the tragedies, the triumphs of the shuttle program from launching the Hubble Space Telescope to helping assemble the International Space Station, will leave lasting marks in space and technological history.

CBSMiami.com wants to hear your memories of the space shuttle program. Click below in the comment section and share your story of the shuttle program and manned space flight in general.

Click here for more on Friday’s scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis.

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