The subject line of this blog was running thru my mind as I viewed (live) the LAST landing of a Space Shuttle – Atlantis – came to a “wheels stop” at 5:57:54 AM EDT today (July 21, 2011).
To answer the question, we have to look back 30+ years in “Space History”. The USA had already landed men on the moon (several times) and returned them to the Earth successfully. In fact, Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, Michael Collins) had reached the moon for the first landing attempt. Neil and Buzz actually landed on July 20, 1969 (20:17:40 UTC). Looking back further the other significant point in time was the day Alan B. Shepard took a ride on a rocket in a “can” (May 5, 1961). Step forward a bit and we see John Glen. A man who not only “rode a rocket” but later went back to space on a shuttle!
Just think of what has happened since Alan’s initial ride (oh yes, Alan did finally go to the moon and made a golf shot on it). A whole new industry (and related sub-industries) exploded on the scene. Unprecedented advances in the medical field, math, sciences, and fantastic opportunities. Not to mention what it did for the economy! Now we have new leaders emerging. People like Elon Musk – founder of SpaceX – who has already shown that the commercial world can successfully launch a capsule to orbit and bring it back down successfully just where they want to. Pioneers like Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne are driving full steam ahead.
It’s time to take a hard look and realize that we can do anything we want to as long as we put our minds (and sweat) to it. “Something” new is right there within our grasp and we need to be students of history to fully understand it.
Congratulations to the “final four” (Chris Ferguson – commander, Doug Hurley – pilot, Rex Walhiem and Sandy Magnus – mission specialsts) Astronauts All for a great show! The Last Crew to fly a Shuttle – Atlantis.
In the shadow of all this we face a critical crossroad in not only the USA economy but also in the global sense. We need leaders to stand up and “do the right thing(s) ” on ALL fronts.. and to do it NOW! We are “on the edge”!
New add: Just ran across this and had to post it –
“You see things and you say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?” – George Bernard Shaw