For Aron: Honoring the Shuttle

>> Friday, July 16, 2010

Aron asked: I have another nooby question, what do you think of the idea I posted on the Space Tweep Blog, should I go after it?

I think it's an excellent idea. For those that never follow links, Aron's proposal was to give homage to the last Shuttle flight (which keeps being put off) by carrying a torch through all of the communities that have supported it, which will cover probably every NASA center (and their surrounding communities) and many military and contractor facilities. The torch (symbolic since I think NASA will still use electronics to ignite the engines and solid rocket boosters) would not only remind us how many people have contributed to the Shuttles in their nearly thirty year lifespan, but also allow people to show that the Shuttle and its contributions have touched them.

The Shuttle is not a perfect beastie (I've talked about her before here and here), but it is still a technological marvel, even today. It cannot take us out of low earth orbit, but it has carried humans into space more than all other US space vehicles combined, more than all of the manned missions that the Soviet Union/Russia have ever launched. We have launched her 132 times, each time manned. 131 times she took her precious cargo to space. 130 times she brought them back safely. Even Soyuz does not have such a record (with regards to human spaceflight). Who knows when we will ever have a vehicle so capable of transporting

She has served this country well, humankind well.

All honor to her and to those who designed, built, service and fly her.


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