Friday, July 8, 2011

The End of an Era

The Space Shuttle program is ironically the same age as me, and was a big part of my childhood growing up. I went to Space Camp in Cape Canaveral when I was in fourth grade, and yes, I totally wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I got to ride all those simulators, do a mock mission control launch, build a rocket and meet a real live astronaut, Alan Shepard. Luckily it's mostly good stuff I remember since I was also super homesick because, well, I was young and it was the longest I had been away from my family--even though they were staying just across town with with my dad's college buddy, "Uncle Stan." They attended the Aeronautical University Embrey-Riddle together in Daytona, Florida. Uncle Stan worked for NASA at the time, so he was there when I needed to see a familiar face.

My fellow campers and I were lucky that there was a Shuttle launch scheduled during our week at Space Camp, and of course it was part of our itinerary to watch it! Unfortunately the launch was postponed until after my family left Florida for home. There was a part of me that was convinced that at some point in my life, I would see a shuttle launch in person, but today I watched the final launch of Atlantis on my computer at work as the Shuttle program comes to an end. It truly is the end of an era.

Nobody can argue that space travel is pretty frickin amazing, and I hope that we soon have another NASA program that we can watch with our kids.

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