Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Final Shuttle Launch STS-135

The final details have come together for our STS-135 launch trip.  All the spots are filled at the private location where I will be viewing the launch from.  I am interested in Causeway tickets but am not willing to pay the greedy prices currently being listed on eBay.  This will be a fun trip as I connect with friends from the launches of STS-132, 133 and 134.  I'm also looking forward to a tour of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station - a place I have been once....secretly.

This launch is history in the making as our great nation, which just celebrated its 235th birthday, gives up the ability to fly humans into space and instead chooses to rely on our former Space Race competitors in order to reach low earth orbit. 

As we watch the last space shuttle escape Earth’s gravity I wonder how history is going to repeat itself.  The last manned flight from the Apollo missions was in 1975 and the first space shuttle mission didn’t take place until 1981.  Will our gap only be 6 years or will political and economic factors make the gap longer?  What role will the private sector play?  Will NASA be relegated to a government regulations industry overseeing private space flight or will NASA again lead the world in launching humans into space?  What role does national pride play in modern space exploration?  And what about the Chinese, could that be the next great Space Race?

Only time will tell but as I watch the final space shuttle mission these and other thoughts will be going through my mind.