…for some great insight on yesterday’s topic. First, Wayne Hale, a former NASA flight director and, among other things, a one-time manager of America’s Space Shuttle Program (the big boss!), who has retired from government service, is also a wonderful writer. And he has a great post today on why Houston didn’t get a space shuttle—because Houston takes having the space program here for granted, and assumed it was in the bag.
…with the level of interest that our citizens and leaders have in JSC, I soon expect to see that facility in the hands of a different federal agency. Soon the National Park Service will be leading tours through the historic – and empty – halls of the Johnson Space Center National Historic Site.
I have a suspicion Wayne is trying to stir the troops to action; good for Wayne.
Those same troops got a different message today from Kyle Herring, a NASA public affairs officer for more than 20 years. He sent along a reminder that not having a shuttle come to live in Houston shouldn’t be the end of our love affair with the program.
These space shuttles will have ended their flying careers, but not their inspirational ones. That career will live on forever in places where so many people will see what we have lived for much of our adult lives and our careers. We now can allow those who aren’t really sure what we did to see what miracles of spaceflight the space shuttle orbiters really are.
As we travel around the country in a year, two years, five, 10, 20, our paths will take us to these museums. We’ll pass through the doors of a hangar, or round the corner of a cavernous hall and suddenly look up and see Enterprise, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour representing our work, our commitment, our dedication. Our forearms will sprout bumps knowing that these spaceships are there because we protected them through years of flight in an environment not friendly to Earth-built machines.
…when we are standing in one of the four locations each orbiter finds home, we can watch the visitors stand in awe of these remarkable spacecraft and tell them about the Space Shuttle Program. We can tell them about what it meant to support such a great vehicle. We can spread the meaning of space – and the space shuttle in particular – to them.