Today, marked the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. For many people, this is a “so what” kind of moment, for many others it’s a “ooohh and ahhhh” thing, but for a lot of people here on the space coast in Brevard County, Florida, it’s a little emotional. You see, the shuttle here, isn’t just an object that gets people into space. It’s almost a culture, space culture. We’ve lived and breathed it for so long, that the moon dust has settled in our brains and left an indelible mark. The beginnings of the space program are here, and now the ends as well. The reasons our parents live here (if you’re my age) probably has something to do with space, and the beach, in reversible order. If it weren’t for the space program we’d still be just a dot on the Florida map.
So today, watching the shuttle go up with my little kids, I reflect on the 30 years I’ve watched them go up, first with my parents, sometimes with my grandparents, with friends, at school, and now with my kids. It’s a tradition. A tradition lost. So now, I can only imagine, as my neighbors lose their jobs, the driving force of our local economy is flying into memory, and many people are left wondering what now, I think the shuttle program is much more than just space flight around here. It’s who we are as a collective whole. It’s what we sat around and discussed, and now it’s nearly gone.
I imagine in a few years, the conversations will be something like what I had while waiting to have my tires changed up at Ray’s Tires on Merritt Island. I talked to this old guy about the Apollo program. Found out he was a friend to many of the “original” astronauts, heard about the beach house parties, the space race, the tragedies, and the tremendous wins. I have to wonder, is there gonna be anyone around here like that in 30 years? I don’t know. But I do know, this last launch, if it happens, is gonna be something to remember. A little piece of history flying in space, and a big piece of a lot of peoples lives.
3-2-1 and I’m done.
More about this subject:
I’ve devoted this whole week to space, so make sure you check the homepage!