Search This Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Watching The Last Space Shuttle Land From London

Live photo of landing from computer in London.

Christa McAuliff - she looks much younger and prettier now than in 1986.

This morning at 11 AM our time - I watched the Space Shuttle land on my computer. I have a program back home called Slingbox that allows us to watch our TV at home from here . We are able watch both live TV and shows we recorded on our DVR - over here.

If anyone does not remember - at one time I had a real job - I was an Earth and Space Science Teacher for Panther Valley for 33 years. Most of my career was dominated by the Space Shuttle program. It was a love/hate relationship.

The Shuttle was basically a glorified pickup truck. It took things into space and returned home empty. We could have done everything that the Shuttle did at a much cheaper cost using big dumb boosters. But NASA felt that if they didn't have a lot of astronauts running around playing "Buck Rodgers" - they could not get the "big bucks" from Congress to keep the program going. Thanks to Lyndon Johnson - most of the money was spent in Texas - his home state. Florida was chosen as the launch spot because of its warm weather and its eastward facing coast for the safety of the launches. You may re-call when the Challenger blew up - all the pieces fell safely into the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1986 - I applied for the Teacher in Space Program - and was passed over in favor of Christa McAulliffe and Barbara Morgan. I guess they had enough middle age WASP white men in space at the time. My lesson plans were interrupted monthly by launches and landings. I even bought a bus and took my students from Pennsylvania to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. We all cried together when the Challenger blew up in Florida.

The flights of the Shuttles mainly assembled the giant space station that is circling the earth now. It is ironic that we built the space station and now do not have rockets to take our astronauts up to visit it. We must hitchhike on Russia's rockets to take us there.

In April 1981 - we were living near Orlando FL - I was able to drive over and watch the very first Space Shuttle Columbia lift off. They have named a highway in Orlando after John Young - the pilot of that craft.

Now our country is in deep debt - the rich and poor are fighting for each other to pay our way out it. Most of that debt was caused by George Bush's two stupid wars and greedy tax cuts he gave his rich buddies. The cost of the Space Shuttle program was less than 1% of all that debt - but we all need a scapegoat - and the space program is a very visible one. It is hard to believe that just 10 years ago - Bill Clinton handed the reins over to Bush with a budget surplus - and we chose to impeach him for having sex with a secretary - even though his wife didn't seem to care.

Those things come to mind when I watched the Shuttle land from London.

No comments: