16 May 2011

Endeavour's Last Journey

Photo by Robert Pearlman. Twitpic location http://twitpic.com/4yfylb

Today marks another milestone towards the end of NASA's shuttle mission. Endeavour took off today on its last journey into space. As a child, I was always fascinated by the shuttles and even wanted to become an astronaut. But I still remember to this day watching Columbia, the first shuttle, launching into space.

It is odd to think how every shuttle launch used to be on network TV. They would pre-empt shows and commercials to show the launches. Then around the time of the Challenger disaster, networks no longer seemed to air the launches, but the new cable channels like CNN would show them. But then over time, even they quit airing the launches. It fell to NASA TV and their internet site's streaming to show launches. I tried to watch them when I could, but after the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003, I managed to only watch about 1 in 4 of the launches or landings.

It is a shame to see an outlet for tremendous amounts of scientific research going to the wayside with no replacement ready to take over. It is sad that we will have to start relying on the Russians to continue work on the International Space Station.

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