As many or few of you (I don’t have a lot of readers!) know I am a child of the space coast. The space industry fed and clothed me and continues to impart it’s head in my life. I was here for ALL the shuttle launches, and a gadzillion of rocket launches, and now for whatever these things are they are trying to pass off as the next big space thing. I’m not impressed.
Now, you may remember my little tirades about the loss of manned space flight in the United States, and how I think it’s stupid to write it off as a waste of money, especially when it seems all we are interested in is regulating how much salt I can eat or how big my soda can be. Uhh, sidetracked there, my apologies. But here’s another facet of the end of the shuttle program for me. Launches suck now. I used to look forward to dragging my butt outside in 100 degree weather to see a puff of smoke trailing behind a large white object that may or may not be visible behind the clouds. I might have been disappointed in the view, but never, I say NEVER, was I disappointed with the SONIC BOOMS! I miss those booms. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s the extra large, window shaking, frame falling, thu-thunk, a large object makes when it exits earths atmosphere at a certain speed, and it’s irreplaceable. So is the sound of the boosters being started, which, for anyone in Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, and Merritt Island was also an unmistakable sound. Add into that the incredibly large sound of the radios, TVs, and whatever else devices broadcasting the countdown and you still only have a small fraction of the experience. Hell, we used to watch the countdown up to one minute inside on the NASA channel, turn it all the way up, leave the door open, run outside for the launch, which usually was scrubbed the first two times, and then if it did launch, we’d watch until the boosters fell off and the booms were heard. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we’d run back in, turn on the news, or NASA, and keep watching, for as long as it stayed interesting.
Now, I’m supposed to try to be excited about this thing they are launching that makes zero noise, has no interesting characteristics, doesn’t have any astronauts, and may or may not be something the Air Force has worked on for 20 years. It makes no noise. None. It’s like a rocket, with a little less enthusiasm. They don’t even broadcast the launches on TV. I’m not sure what to make of all this. I miss the shuttles, period. I know they are never coming back, I know their time was done, however, nothing in this new PC world of quiet launches and no astronauts can compare. I want them back, if just to hear the noise again.
Just my view from the space coast, a boring remnant of a noisy past.