Saturday, October 13, 2012
Eulogy for A Starship: Spaceshuttle Endeavour Comes Home for the Last Time
Apologies for my gloominess with this one, folks. This is a topic that's put me in a broody mood since they began retiring the orbiters. I do have to admit that I got a good chuckle when I saw the photo of it passing the giant doughnut, however.
I just heard that this had always been a local ship, built in the high desert, kept at a local AFB for most of its' life, and now retired in the state that it was born in. I remember when this shuttle took its maiden flight; I was ten and very much enamored with the space program. I've seen almost every single one of its launches...and returns. I've seen it piggyback on 747's on its way between bases, flying over my house. It will be sorely missed.
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Please excuse my miss-spells and run-togethers; I had to stop and take a sniffle break several times during the typing of this post. The QDL didn't judge me for it. ;-) Seemed fitting to write this up on it, too, as it's a wonderful but solemn machine.ReplyDelete
Sighs "Prosper", "Sarcophagus"Delete
I feel a little better now that I amended that...
With the end of each space program there is the start of a new one, hopefully better. I still remember watching Alan Shepard taking off on the first manned U.S. space flight and watching every launch since. I never got to see a shuttle launch close-up but I did see many on the launch pad. They were very impressive. I think since moving to FL I have watched about a dozen launches from various view points and distances and they were all spectacular.ReplyDelete
I hope you're right, Bill. I hope we're entering the age of a bold new frontier, where the common man can enter space and not just the military and that we go farther than ever before.I have seen some concepts for missions to Mars, but I'm still uncertain as to the feasibility of that.Delete
It still sounds like you got to see some spectacular launches, even if it wasn't across the water from the pad. I would have loved to have been as close as you were, just once. And somehow, I had forgotten that Alan Shepard was the first American in space! Shame on me.
Never one for crayons, I picked up color pencils and technical pens at an early age. I loved science fiction and I loved space science. No one will own up to how it happened, but some of my childish drawings found their way to somone in a position of power. The highlight of my freshman year in high school was a trip to Cape Canaveral for STS-5, the fifth shuttle launch. Whatever authority had received my doodles responded with a pass that allowed my family to be five miles from the launch pad.ReplyDelete
Forget DisneyWorld with its brand-new Epcot Center park. Disregard the rest of the NASA displays at Cape Kennedy. Nothing compares to the experience of a 72-ton (empty weight) orbiter, racing into the sky on a plume of fire. Thirty years later, I can still remember the shock wave coming across the water.
And now, those memories can only be related in terms of postagestamp-sized videos on the internet... and in museums... and in books. Thankfully, some of us have those memories to share, and we're the ones literate enough to write them down for posterity.
I wish I could have seen a launch in person! That was one thing I've always wanted to do and never had the opportunity. What a fantastic story of how you got to see one!Delete
We lived in the flightpath that they used for piggybacking the shuttle home after re-entry. Not a launch, but they always flew low and slow, so much detail of the orbiter was visible to us on the ground. It was always quite a sight to behold!
Thank you for sharing your story. The stories are what keep the memories alive, and sharing them is so important. Especially for those of us literate enough to do so, as our literacy is something else our country is losing.
I definitly share your sentiments about the space program. Just like with typewriters we can't let people forgot about these wonderful machines that have impacted our lives so much!ReplyDelete
I am happy that they were all included in museums, safe from scrapyards! There has been so much buzz about Endeavour that the museum is asking people to book their tickets weeks and months in advance. So hopefully, they'll not soon be forgotten.Delete
The one thing I hope is that the longer we go without these machines being a part of daily life the more young people will become interested in them and research them to figure out just how the hell they worked and maybe pick up a fascination of their own...Delete
I do as well!Delete