If I could, I would hold the space shuttle in my arms and cry.

edited July 2011 in Spurious Generalities
You magnificent beast, I stayed up all night when I was 11 to watch your first launch, my mom even made me my first pot of coffee and let me stay home from school the next morning. I will do you the same courtesy on your last flight, and toast your final roaring ascent, don't blow it.

Yeah, my nerdish heritage really makes me a little misty eyed over this one. For 30 years I have watched the shuttles go up, and it will really be the end of an era when the last one fires up. I know they cost too much, and a couple blew up, but for a while they were the shit, and given the way things are going, we are not likely to see anything like them soon.

We are much more practical now, and do things according to the bottom line. If the Russians can do it cheaper and better, well then that is the way things should be. We are losing something though, the space shuttle was not just a payload vehicle, it was a proof of concept on the idea of a re usable launch system. It worked, and many plans were made for better replacements.

None of them will see the light of day as long as the economic situation stays the same, the idea of pissing away a couple billion on something that benefits so few is an idea few Americans can stomach. Space is no longer the final frontier, and if you were to ask a typical ten year old if he would rather be an astronaut or an accountant, the kid would probably have to think on it a bit.

We have lost the drive to 'conquer space', and left the process in it's adolescence. The mars rover missions gave it a shot in the arm for a few years, but we have bigger problems now. I am not without hope, I will take exploration for the sake of profit and exploitation over pure science any day, it has better legs.

We are still exploring our solar system with increasingly smaller and better designed probes, but unless you read the science rags, you would never know it. China wants to play too, and I would give good odds the next flag planted on the moon will be red.

One thing is certain, unless we fuck ourselves so hard we never get back up again, and humanity withers like a candle that burned too bright, we will eventually do this for real. Carbon nano tubes, malleable ceramics, low temperature superconductors, the technology that can make it happen is in it's infancy. I won't see it, and I am jealous of those of you who might, but I was here for the space shuttle, and I am happy for that.

"wanted to be an astronaut, wound up a space cadet"


  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited July 2011
    I felt the same way when they retired the Saturn 5 and ended the Apollo missions.
  • ducklipsducklips Regular
    edited July 2011
    I bid thee space shuttle farewell and God speed.
  • edited July 2011
    China wants to play too, and I would give good odds the next flag planted on the moon will be red.

    Let them waste their money; humans on the moon was only a high watermark in a superpower pissing contest, with a veneer of science to justify the underlying two-8-year-olds-at-a-urinal psychology of the American and Russian leaderships.

    As for current 'naked apes buggering around in a vacuum' activities, such as the ISS, they really don't need humans up there full time. But a lonely lump of (perfectly functioning) silicon isn't going to sufficiently capture the publics' imagination, i.e. their tax dollars, to fund such projects even if the data they produce is worthwhile.
  • edited July 2011
    I'm glad their going away.... Finally those hunks of outdated shit will have to be replaced; I like the ideas of lightcraft and microwave propelled craft.... Such innovation to come in the future!
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