Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary John Glenn

NBC News Re-broadcast coverage John Glenn 1962 Space Flight

I remember watching the launch and holding my breath as the rocket took off. The US was not the first in space; we were always following the Russians. But as a result we created so many more innovations in our race to surpass the Russians. I am a firm believer of space exploration, research and engineering created high tech jobs and so many spin-offs that we now take for granted. I think it is a national disgrace that we cannot send an astronaut into space, that now we are at the mercy of other nations to send our astronauts into space. We were always the leaders and now we have to go begging for a ride.

I remember back in the late mid-60s when I went down to Cape Carnival with my parents. My father went down there for a NEA (National Education Association) conference, he was on the Technical Education sub-committee, and my mother and I went along. The highlight of the trip was a tour of the space center. I remember looking at the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and the tour guide said that the building was so vast, that clouds formed inside it. While we were there the crawler that would take the Saturn V out to the launch facility was being tested. I remember how it dwarf the tour bus.

Back then the space program was new; it was a challenge at every step, going where no one had gone before. It inspired dreams. I believe that is what we are now lacking, dreams. The space shuttle and the space program took all that away, it became “Ho, hum”, pedestrian. Sending unman probes might gather reams of data, but it doesn’t inspire dreams. We need man missions first to the moon and then to Mars. The cost would be a fraction of one percent of the budget, but the engineering that it will evolve will be equal to the first space race to the moon. Are we going to cede the moon, Mars and space to the Chinese? I do not like Newt Gingrich, but I thought he was right when he proposed going to the moon and exploring space again.

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