If you’ve been one of the lucky Americans to witness the Space Shuttle flyovers (piggybacked on a 747) as they make their way to their respective museums across the country… then you can stop reading here. You know just how awesome it was.
Today, the space shuttle Endeavour made the final leg of its journey to its new home in Southern California. To say that I’ve rarely seen so many people hold their breath and wipe tears from the corners of their eyes unless it was at a sad occassion, is a major understatement. So many of us share the collective memories of important moments in the space program… and no matter what it means to us, it just takes your breath away.
I was 5 and in Kindergarten during the Challenger mission. Each year in middle school, we’d work like crazy on our science fair projects hoping to win the coveted spot at Space Camp (and loathed the kid who complained that it “just wasn’t that fun” after his 3rd visit/win in so many years) In college, we’d all JUMP when the sonic boom of a landing shuttle shook campus. I was 23 during the Columbia mission, and saw the legions of love letters poured out to Laurel Clark through my sorority. I read a case study on the shuttle program in disbelief in my first year of graduate school, and became more amazed that something designed in the hearts of bureaucrats could end up truly flying in space. And I’ve heard the true sadness in the voices of my friends who are in the aerospace industry at the loss of something that gave them a purpose in life and career.
Today we got to have one big collective air show in our golden state. Welcome back to California Endeavour… this time you get to stay.