What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

15 August 2011

Here at the End

It's been over three weeks since the final US shuttle flight returned to Earth. I watched all the coverage, of course, not quite with the same intensity as I've done in the past, but I watched. And I heard the reasons for bringing it to an end, and some of the plans for the future, and it was all tinged with the sadness that accompanies the end of things.

The final crew. Source: NASA.
And I've indulged in a fair amount of nostalgia, as is my wont, only to discover that my nostalgia well is lacking this time. According to the NASA page, there have been 135 shuttle missions in my lifetime, and I know I've watched a bunch of them, but they all blend together. Space flight really has become routine, the general public blasé, no matter how much we're told it's still a big deal. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say.

When I was younger, I used to be so jealous of my parents' ownership over the space age. They could remember every launch, every mission, every glitch from the early days, because they watched them all. When Apollo 13 came out, my parents tried to remember which mission that was: My mum asked, "Was that the one that was struck by lightning?" and between them they finally managed to nail down what happened to #13 to make it noteworthy enough for a movie. I envied their firsthand knowledge and their remembrances. And I still do.

For my own knowledge is not so much of how exciting it all was, but rather how dismal it is when it all goes wrong. All the launches I've watched blur together, but the tragedies stand out. And I wish that weren't the case, but that's the time I was born in.

The inside was pretty cool, too, but
I didn't get any pictures of it.
On a happier note, the new capsule that NASA is currently testing made a pass through Austin a few weeks ago on its way home to wherever its new home is. It was cool to look at and exciting to think that my kids will get to see launches and landings, too, even though we're currently in hiatus. The lights at NASA haven't gone out.

Did you see the final launch or landing? Do you have any particular remembrances of missions in the space age?

5 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Good to hear that NASA is not giving up!

Isis Rushdan said...

There's something magical to watching a launch for the first time.

Su said...

@Carole: I think so, too. With the budget cuts, it would be easy to get discouraged or throw in the towel altogether; fortunately, there are plenty of people who want to see them continue.

@Isis: Very true!

Marian Allen said...

I remembered #13 VERY clearly when the movie came out. I was in college at the time and, as a form of sympathetic magic, wore red, white and blue every day until the guys got back safely.

The movie was fantastic--I was riveted. The scenes in the control room LOOKED like what I remembered seeing. Watching was like reliving that tension, hope and exhilaration. Not to mention the irritation that there was no media attention to the mission until it went sideways.

Thanks for the memories! :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Su said...

See, that's just the sort of thing that makes me jealous. ;) A very cool memory, though! Thanks for sharing!