I have a vivid memory of waking up early to sit on my grandmother’s pea soup green Naugahyde couch so I could watch the first shuttle launch in April of 1981. I was six years old. My Grandmother believed if God had intended for man to fly he’d give us wings. I knew better. I knew he’d give us the brains to get there and I wanted to go. When I was 6 years old I still believed I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t yet know I absolutely sucked at math or that I’d fail algebra twice and just get through geometry by the skin of my teeth. I genuinely believed if I wanted it bad enough I could be an astronaut too one day.
A few years later, in January 1986, I happened to be home on a snow day. Of course, I was watching the first teacher in space take off on the ill-fated Challenger. It broke my heart when it exploded a few seconds into its flight. I remember not only feeling sad for the loss of life but fearful the program would be over. When the program did get scrapped in 2011 I was sad but not surprised. The Space program costs a lot of money. And, like most government entities it was full of pork and ridiculousness. My brother in law, an honest to goodness rocket scientist, worked for a Nasa contractor when it all went down. The stories he used to tell of the way Nasa was run, the inflexibility of the program, etc. why it’s no wonder the program ended. It’s hard to make history and be innovative if you aren’t willing to take risks and think outside the box.
Today, Space X in collaboration with NASA is launching a manned rocket into space again. It’s groundbreaking because NASA made a deal with weird AF Elon Musk and purchased passage from a private space exploration company instead of building their own rocket. I’ve been watching the preparations off and on since about noon today. In fact, I had live coverage blaring in the background as I was writing this today. And, I just heard the flight is being rescheduled due to weather. It will take place this Saturday, May 30. I know what I’ll be doing on Saturday. I just wish I could be in Florida to watch.
Photo Credit: Space X free on Pexels.