Friday, July 08, 2011

The End of an Era

This morning, Lynn and I watched the Space Shuttle Atlantis make it's,
and the Shuttle program's last launch. It was bittersweet to me because
it seems to be the end of an era. The Shuttle has been the backbone
of America's space program for just over thirty years. This is the
equivalent of 2/3 of my life. I can't remember what class I was in
at the time, but back in April of 1981, I had a teacher at Hebron High
School that had the foresight to know that the first shuttle launch
was something important. We were all crowded into the balcony
above the Gym to watch this momentous occasion. Besides being
home to all the weights the school had, I think it was the only place
in the entire school where there was a television set where we could
watch it. How times have definitely changed since then.
Little did I know then, that thirty years would go by before
the last shuttle would launch. In between, there were highs and
lows. I was a Junior in college when the Challenger exploded and
my professor spent the entire class period talking about the
ramifications of the incident. Flash forward and I was in Antarctica
when the Columbia was destroyed on re-entry. What's next for the
U.S. Space Program? I hope great things. When I was young, we
all thought we'd be visiting Mars and having the chance to live on
the Moon by now. It's taking a little longer obviously, but I still think
we can reach new horizons. I'm old enough to remember the last
Moon landing. I hope that I'll still be around the next time we go
there. I think I will be.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

By the time the Challenger exploded, classes weren't really watching space shuttle launches any more. But they did show that one, because Christa McAuliffe was a teacher. I remember thinking that the fireworks were really cool, while our teachers cried in the hallways. Apparently, I was unaware of what had happened.