NASA Podcasts

Markers Preserve History at Shuttle Runway
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NASA has permanently marked the spot where the space shuttles' last missions came to an end.

Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis came home from space for the last time in 2011, touching down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

VOICE OF CHRIS FERGUSON, STS-135 COMMANDER: "Mission complete, Houston. After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle's earned its place in history, and it's come to a final stop."

After each final landing, Kennedy's Landing Operations Team used a temporary spray paint to note where the wheels stopped.

But NASA wanted a long-lasting way to preserve this part of shuttle history.

Local artist Chad Stout, of C Spray Glass Blasting, designed, manufactured and installed the markers.

He worked with NASA Test Director Michael Ciannilli to locate the exact wheelstop points.

Stout placed the stencil on the runway and masked the surrounding area, then sandblasted the concrete away, leaving perfectly etched letters.

A coat of black-enamel spray paint will make the words easy to see for years to come.

At the C Spray shop, Stout used a NASA photo as an inspiration when he created the templates for stone pavers that display more information about each of the shuttles' final missions.

Wearing safety gear, he etched the final design in "Absolute Black" granite, an extremely durable stone.

At the Shuttle Landing Facility, Stout cut an opening in the asphalt service road along the runway.

The pavers are extra thick and weigh at least 100 pounds each, but he installed them by hand.

All three pavers are aligned with the etchings on the runway centerline... and, like the shuttles' legacy, will stand the test of time.

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