Clive witnesses history of final Space Shuttle flight

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FORMER Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian reporter Clive Simpson has had some pretty exciting jobs since he left more than 25 years ago, but his latest mission is probably the tale he’ll tell his grandchildren.

Clive was present at the final Space Shuttle launch and landing in Florida.

He was covering the event for the magazine Spaceflight, which he edits last week.

He said: “It was an awesome trip and a great privilege to be at the NASA press site to witness history in the making.”

“Space Shuttle Atlantis swept into the Kennedy Space Centre making a poignant touchdown on a dark runway just before sunrise. Despite the dark, pre-dawn skies over Florida, large crowds came out to try to glimpse Atlantis as it made its historic return from orbit.”

Clive, whose journalistic career has covered news, features, business politics and crime as well as magazine editing and public relations, adds: “Touchdown marked a moment of high emotion for the local region, not least because it will trigger a big lay-off of contractor staff. Several thousand involved in Shuttle operations will lose their jobs within days.

“Launching people into space is a potent symbol of technological and engineering prowess, but for the Space Shuttle programme it was the pre-dawn landing of Atlantis that truly signalled the end.”

In his blog (simcomm.blogspot.com) Clive refers to the Shuttle as “the iconic soul and heart of the US space programme for the past three decades”.

Clive lives in Spalding where he runs his media and PR firm SimComm.

Since joining Spaceflight he has been to the Russian launch site in Kazakhstan and has met various astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and Tim Peake, Britain’s first, who is currently training with the human space flight agency ESA.