Friday, June 03, 2011
Tribute to the Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle program has been a constant in my life for, well, most of it. And the tie in to horses is here, really! Natalie of Retired Racehorse fame started a spirited conversation on Facebook that started with spiders and led (via Florida) to this trip down memory lane.
I am a space junkie. I love the concepts and science of what it takes to break the bounds of Earth and get into space. Really, I love what the knowledge it will take to get us there will do for us--and where it will take us--in the long (or short) term.
I remember the outside view of the Shuttle program, and Steve was lucky enough (or in the right place at the right time) to have actually been a part of the early design team. He was actually (if you can imagine the bureaucracy of this) the IBM liaison between the Air Force and NASA. Oh, the stories he can tell. And he knows just how many tiles--specifically shaped tiles--live on the bottom of the "brick with wings."
One of my "where was I when" memories was the Challenger accident in 1986 and I still hold my breath for every launch and every landing. One of the first questions I ever asked Steve was how he felt about it. Our relationship started years after that, but I still remember his quiet, thoughtful response--and that it basically came down to politics and risk.
Yeah, I probably fell in love right then.
But I digress.
The Shuttle program has been a piece of me--a passion if you will--for so many years. Every launch, every photo from space, every space walk has touched me in some adventure-seeking way.
I can believe it is coming to an end--nothing as old as these girls are should still be subjected to atmospheric pressures on any regular basis. What is hard to swallow is that there is nothing in their place. No plan. No prototype. Nothing. (At least as far s the public view is concerned.)
How could we have come so far and still be standing still?