Growing up in the 90’s as a science fiction/aviation history geek, I always looked back on the things like the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions with amazement at what we as humans and as Americans DAMMIT could accomplish. I mean, how could you not look at a Saturn 5 launch (or even just sitting on the ground!) and come away impressed? And landing on the MOON? Are you kidding me? That’s impressive.
And then I would hear about the space shuttle. The space Shuttle. The thing that was supposed to be the neat space flagship for my generation! You know, the vaguely airplane-shaped white thing that went into orbit and did… stuff. What kind of stuff no one was ever that clear about, but we were assured that it was… science-y. Even as an easily-impressed kid there was something lacking. Whatever excitement you had with the shuttle was not the good kind–you’d just wonder if it was going to explode… again. That it had to go up and fix the Hubble… again. Whoop-dee-doo.
So forgive me if I don’t get all emotional and caught up in the retirement of the shuttle fleet. About bloody damn time, if you ask me.
(And to those of you who say “Now we can only get to space with the help of the Russians,” I hear you. I, too, am just a little pissed off that we have to rely on the Russians to supply 1950’s era technology to get up to some space station of the Brotherhood of Worldwide Peace and Love where, again, we are assured that something science-y is going on. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THAT SITUATION THAT INSPIRES ME. Just like there hasn’t been anything to inspire me since 1972! Mr. Branson! Mr. Musk! Mr. Bigelow! Godspeed!)