STS-135 is Coming….
by Matt Mira on July 6, 2011
After twenty-one straight days of working (including the pilot, podcast, and Fruit stand), I have come to Florida for what will be the end of the Space Shuttle program. Florida is known for many things, including Disney World, breakfast buffets (go ahead, Google “Breakfast Buffet”; the first suggested search is “Breakfast Buffet Orlando”), and most of my immediate family. However, to me, the most important thing in Florida, besides the oppressive humidity and my parents, is Launch Complex 39.
Complex 39 is like a place one would read about in science fiction, like the Utopia Planitia in Star Trek where the Enterprise D was built, or the rift in Cardiff where the TARDIS can land and draw power. These are starting points for great adventures, adventures across time and space, into the reaches of the unknown. Only thing is, Launch Complex 39 is REAL. It is the place where the Saturn V was first sent into orbit around Earth with Apollo 4. The place where Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins used 7.6 MILLION pounds of thrust to break free of the Earth’s gravity and visit another celestial body for the first time in the history of humanity. (This is all assuming “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel is full of shit)
Complex 39 has also been the home of the Space Shuttle since 1981. Think about that. Before I was born, humans had built a spacecraft that could not only leave the Earth and enter orbit, but could also return to Earth and be used again! Next month, I turn 28 and we are still using the same shuttles. While this is a testament to NASA and the crews of the Shuttle program, for not only building a reliable fleet of space craft but for continuing to use them, this should also serve as a damning of political climate and a continuing emphasis on tax dollars moving away from sciences. I mean, really? 30 years and we are still using basically the same ships? Shouldn’t there have been like a “super space shuttle” or an “Enterprise-A” by now?
I shall now step off my futuristic soap box and say to each and every one of you that what is happening on Friday is the end of an era, an era that I am so proud to have been around to see. Thursday and Friday, I will be at the Kennedy Space Center. I have been lucky enough to be invited to be part of the Tweet-up for STS-135. This is the final bow for the Atlantis Orbiter and the Space Shuttle program. It is truly an honor to be part of this historic moment, and if all of you kind readers don’t mind, I will try to share as much as I can on the site.