Friday, July 8, 2011
I am reading Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan, a book my father had liked. I loved this part which I scanned and circled here to share with you:
John F. Kennedy Space Center.
My mom tells me, there used to be a lot of media coverage, and astronaunts were interviewed like celebrities and there was no way you could not know of the shuttle launches. I wonder why shuttle take off's are not as much of a media story anymore? How sad. I think if the awareness was greater, more spread across the mass media outlets, more would be watching, talking about it and caring. I do.
Space culture can live again.
The Atlantis. Strapped in on Atlantis' upper flight deck will be commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Douglas Hurley, flight engineer Rex Walheim, and space station veteran Sandra Magnus (Google her). All four are spaceflight veterans and all four clearly recognize the historic nature of their voyage (via Cnet).
Atlantis has been launched 33 times during a three-decade long U.S Shuttle program with 135 missions. The Atlantis, circling the world riding the space lab conducting research and gaining a perspective of the Earth where we are all united, together, as one- on the blue, green and white horizons. But this is the last launch for the program in the space lab. And when the shuttle returns to Earth, many lay-offs and big changes are about to happen at NASA.
The shuttles are aged and technology has changed, and instead of fixing what is in need of repair and putting money into those upkeeps, the program is ending to start a new venture. Out with the old, on with the new, I guess. NASA will be focusing on a new system to replace their old one, but it's also an end of an era.
What's next, what's ahead, what's possible, the unknown results of change is up to bat. We'll see.
In William Harwood's Cutting Edge recent article on Cnet.com, shuttle commander Christopher Ferguson says, "After the wheels have stopped and the displays go blank and the orbiter is unpowered for the final time...there will be a rush of emotion when we all finally realize that's it, that it's all over, the crowning jewel of our space program, the way we got back and forth from low-Earth orbit for 30 years...we'll realize that's all over. That's going to take a little while to deal with it."
Read more about Atlantis, final four shuttle astronauts and NASA:
(Photos of Atlantis through the years) http://news.cnet.com/2300-11386_3-10008502.html?tag=mncol
And check out these recent photos from Universe Today photographer Michael Deep, who had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the last shuttle that will ever sit on a launchpad and head to space after this last take off. http://www.universetoday.com/87203/gallery-atlantis-the-last-shuttle-on-the-launchpad/
Watch the video of the final launch: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/08/space.shuttle/index.html?iref=BN1&hpt=hp_t1
I can hear Elton John's Rocketman, let's hear it right now click here.