Thursday, July 21, 2011

Emotional day for KSC family

The space shuttle program's final landing this morning put the Kennedy Space Center family through a roller coaster ride of emotions.

"I saw grown men and grown women crying today," Launch Director Mike Leinbach said during a 10 a.m. press conference. "Human emotions came out on the runway today. You couldn't suppress it."

On the runway, Leinbach and colleagues took pictures together and admired "the beauty of the vehicle," Atlantis.

"It was a family event out there today," he said.

He said the emotions were hard to describe.

"They were good emotions that we brought the crew home safely and the mission is complete," he said. "Certainly sadness that it's over and people will be moving on. I hate to see them leave, but that’s a reality."

Friday is the last day of work for 1,510 local employees of United Space Alliance, the lead shuttle contractor.

Hundreds, perhaps thousansd, of KSC employees are now gathered outside shuttle hangars for an appreciation event, with Atlantis posing as a backdrop before it is towed inside Orbiter Processing Facility-2. Bands are playing the many employees are waving small American flags.


R Barton said...

A Space Race

There once was a great race to space,
Two nations kept up a fine pace.

Sputnik next to our Vanguard,
The task seemed so very hard.

Vostok was the first one to rise,
With a man as its orbital prize.

But Mercury, Gemini and Apollo,
Gave NASA a sure course to follow.

To the moon! a President said,
Let's get there before it turns Red!

Fly Atlas! Fly Titan! Fly Saturn!
They took off in a regular pattern.

Voskhod flew twice 'round the block,
With three and then a space walk.

By one's, then by two's, then by three's,
In those capsules the brave ones did squeeze.

Their walking and docking and mirth,
Was followed by those here on Earth.

Then off to the moon they did go!
The rest I am sure you all know.

There was a small step for a man,
It all went according to plan.

Then the race took a whole different route,
Into space flew a craft called Salyut.

And Skylab had three different crews,
Then Apollo met up with Soyuz.

It was time for a new Enterprise,
to take flight in clear desert skies.

Then Columbia was just the new thing,
to re-enter on tile covered wing.

Challenger was next on the pad,
But then we all were quite sad.

Next came a flight by Discovery,
and the program was in a recovery.

Atlantis was next on the block,
with a mission, but no one could talk.

Finally a brand new Endeavour,
and three walkers who were very clever.

The Shuttle and Mir had a docking,
and also a little space walking.

Then we built a joint station in space,
But not a name for the base.

Not Freedom, not Alpha, nonetheless,
We just called the place I - S - S.

Thirty years the Shuttle flew on,
Suddenly one day it was gone.

Orion is next in the void,
Its target? A big asteroid.

Finally a trip on to Mars,
And then what? The Stars!

- Rusty Barton

Dr. Dan Woodard said...

Sending people to Mars or an asteroid with huge rockets that are used once and thrown away is, unfortunately, much too expensive for our nation to afford. We need to consider the possibility that the decision to abandon reusable launch systems was incorrect.

Gaetano Marano said...

Charles Bolden at the KSC after the Shuttle retirement: