Thursday, October 25, 2007

Space; The Final Frontier

One of the most exciting things I ever saw was 13 years ago while in Florida. We knew the shuttle was launching on our last day there. While driving to the airport the countdown was on the radio. We pulled over and waited. Sure enough, there it was! It had a fat white contrail and flames coming out of the rocket boosters. It was the most dramatic and exhilarating sight. Maybe to the Floridians it was passe, they've seen enough of them but to me, WOW.

For a while the space program had lost it's glamour. It seemed like there were shuttles in space all the time. Sometimes I didn't even realize one was up. Then Challenger exploded in January 1986. For me it was that kind of event you remembered where you were and what you were doing. I was newly pregnant with Number One Son and was looking at baby things JC Penny on my lunch hour. Heard it on the radio on the way back to work.

Anyway, Discovery is up in space now and the commander is a women, Pam Melroy. It just so happens that Pam is from my hometown. Melroy is only the second woman to command a shuttle mission. She also happens to be the last. Seems that there are no more women in the space program that are qualified to pilot a shuttle. The only other female pilot was Eileen Collins, coincidentally from Elmira, about 100 miles south of me and she left NASA last year.

What's even more unusual is the commander on the space station is a woman too, Peggy Whitson. So all you young girls out there, study your math and science and you too can fly into space and history.

I would love to see a live shuttle launch in person someday. I'll add it to my list of places to go and things to do.

By the way, another space event that I remember where I was and what I was doing was on July 20, 1969 when we landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong took the first steps. I was 11 years old and on vacation at the 1000 Islands. My family was renting a cottage and we knew it didn't have a TV. My father packed up our black and white TV and brought it with us. We had everyone that was renting there in our cottage watching when it happened.


Sandi said...

That is way cool that she is from your hometown.

I have always been fascinated by all the space voyages. I would never do it myself, but am so proud of all those that do!

Chelle said...

I would love to see a live shuttle launch someday, too!! I think it would be an awesome experience!! We were in Florida this summer, and unfortunately there was nothing scheduled at the time we were there...of course!! lol

Kitten Herder said...

I would love to see a live shuttle launch too. It's funny, I remember the moonwalk too (I was 7 at the time, so it's cool that I can remember it). Sadly, I also remember Challenger.

I work in information technology. There are more women in the field than there used to be. However, one of the departments in my organization is all male, and two others are all male except for one female each. Oddly enough, my department (IT security) is all female except for one male. We rock!