Richard Luscombe, Cape Canaveral
hen the space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth, 2,000 Kennedy Space Centre employees will be laid off, bringing job losses from the shuttle programme close to 10,000
s landlord of the nearest pub to the Kennedy Space Centre, Bill Grillo is proud of his highbrow crowd of regulars.
For three decades, astronauts, rocket scientists, engineers, technicians and mission managers have kept the till at Shuttles sports bar and grill ringing. Every American who has blasted into space from a nearby launchpad has taken a meal there, and had his or her framed picture placed prominently on a wall.
But all that will change this month when the time bell rings for Nasa's iconic space shuttle programme.
If the Florida weather permits, on Friday, for the 135th and final time in a 30-year era punctuated by many extraordinary highs and two infamous disasters, an orbiter will launch into the heavens from the nation's spaceport at Cape Canaveral.