You know those times when a flood of emotions crash down on you all at once? Pride. Sadness. Happiness. Deflation. You feel like cheering the victories, but have tears for the loss.
Bittersweet, some call it.
Well, Thursday, September 20, 2012, was one of those days for me.
Space Shuttle Endeavour, riding atop NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, flew over our house, a little after 7 AM. It had taken off at sunrise from Ellington Field while Pilot and I packed the car for our trip to Dallas/Ft. Worth, for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. When we heard the incredible deep-throated rumble of the aircraft, we looked up.
As the 747 took one last flyover Johnson Space Center, it hooked a left, and flew directly over our house. Then headed west, to Los Angeles, where it will be on permanent display.
I’m not going to get into the politics of shutting down the shuttle program, or the issue of not awarding Houston with a retired shuttle. That’s for others to debate.
I will say this, however, I am extremely proud of all the hard work countless people in our country did to keep that shuttle flying from its conception, to retirement. I am also extremely proud of all the countless people who keep the International Space Station in the air. Plus, those who are working toward building our next space vehicle.
Our son, Pie, is a third-generation space worker. Pilot worked with the shuttle program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and as a Mission Control Specialist for the ISS at Johnson Space Center. Pilot’s father worked in the launch control center during the Apollo missions.
On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced, from Rice University in Houston, that the United States would land men on the moon. “We choose to go to the moon… and do other things, not because they are easy. But because they are hard.”
I wish you well.
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Bittersweet, yes. Thank you for the reminder of what has come to an end.
Hopefully, the US will have a new crew vehicle to ferry our astronauts into the far reaches of space, before too long.