Anyone who knows me knows of my love of the stars and anything related to space. It was always a passion of my dad’s and he passed that on to me. If he were alive today I’m certain he would feel sadness with the end of the shuttle program. I wish I could ask him about how he felt when they started it and when they tested Enterprise and then launched Columbia into space for the first time. With all the stories he told me over the years I, sadly, don’t remember the ones about the shuttles.
I think the first time I consciously paid attention to a shuttle mission was the reparation of the Hubble telescope in 1993. I remember watching the astronauts floating out there in space and I remember having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
In recent years the internet has made it possible to be able to watch what we’re doing up there in space at all times. Watching the shuttle launches has been a thrill for me. Of course, I would have given anything to have gone to a shuttle launch and seen it live. But I never had that chance.
Today was the last shuttle launch starting the 135th and final mission of the shuttle program. I can’t help but be sad about it. I know that the American astronauts will continue to visit the ISS via Russia, and I know that there is a possibility NASA will turn to private companies for a new spacecraft. I can only hope that the future (and by that I mean IN MY LIFE TIME) holds great things for the space program. We owe a lot that we use in our day-to-day lives to it.
Beautiful, flawless launch, Atlantis. Have fun up there and have a safe trip home.
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