As residents in the Nation’s Capital, we’re privy to a lot of wonderful opportunities that are history in the making including today’s journey of the Space Shuttle Discovery as she traveled from Florida to her final resting place at The National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center.
Watching from my spot on the Mall between The Smithsonian Castle and the Capitol building, witnessing the shuttle on the back of a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft was a bittersweet occasion because while it was exciting, it also marks the end of the Space Shuttle era. So many of my childhood memories involve the Space Shuttle. From the exciting liftoff of the first launch on April 12, 1981 to watching in disbelief as the Challenger broke apart a mere 73 seconds into its flight and hearing the incredible sonic boom of Atlantis re-entering the atmosphere as it returned to Kennedy Space Center after its final mission. Those moments were inspiring, heartbreaking, and just plain cool and will forever live on in my memory.
What’s next for NASA? NASA plans to continue their exploration, technology development, and scientific research. There is a new International Space Station for collaborative work with 15 countries and the new Space Launch System will transport astronauts well beyond the orbit ability of the space shuttle fleet. Certainly this new chapter in space exploration is exciting and will inspire a new generation of kids but it makes me a little nostalgic knowing that it’s happening without our Nation’s beloved Space Shuttles.