T-minus one (last time). A tribute to the NASA Space Shuttle Program

I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was October 29, 1998. Senator and astronaut John Glenn and the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery began their expedition. I remember the sound, the fire, the awe. I remember the inspiration. I was only 6 years old – but John Glenn was my hero. I stood in my grandfather’s living room with my mother and siblings, completely transfixed by what I saw on the screen, I knew what I wanted to be. I would be an astronaut.

The Space Shuttle Discovery being towed off the runway after it's final landing

Seeing the space shuttle launch had a lasting impact on me; an impact that continues to this day and far out lasted my notions of becoming an astronaut. It simulated and fertilized within me, as a small child, a true love for science and a desire to participate in this wonderful world of discovery. That experience of watching the shuttle launch helped deepen a child’s curiosity, into everlasting amazement at what science can do- and encouraged a strong desire to be part of the community that made the Discovery’s voyage possible.

Like it did for so many American kids, the space shuttle program, (along with events such as the Apollo mission to the moon and Charles Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flight,) gave me an enduring sense of patriotic pride, coupled with the responsibility of our leadership on a global level.

As a citizen of the world and member of the upcoming generation, the space shuttle program impressed me with a sense of my duty to receive the torch of scientific and technological advancement and to keep it alive as our mothers and fathers did before us. They used it to explore space. What will we do with it?

Now, a bit more than a decade later, I am an engineer (in training) and have found my passion in inspiring people to purse an understanding of our world (science) and the development and application of this understanding (technology).

Today, it is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to the space shuttle program. I think of the twin tragedies which claimed the lives of 14 brave explorers and I am glad for the opportunity to seek new methods of space travel. I think of 132 successful missions and I wonder how we will replace such and integral part of our nation, science program and culture (not to mention job supplying workforce).

We all wonder what the future will hold for American maned space missions; as the question “what’s next” has yet to be answered. No, cargo missions are not what we’re talking about.

I hadn’t planned to watch the launch today. I was scheduled to pick up machines for the summer Fab Lab we’re installing. My little brother and I walked into the basement of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms just as the live feed showed the Atlantis “blasting off”. We watched until it’s solid rocket boosters fell off and blew up into flaming balls of fire as they returned back to earth. They had done their job. NASA says the space shuttles have done theirs as well. Now it’s up to us to do ours.

I wish the Atlantis godspeed on its journey and return home; and yes, I will be visiting the Discovery at the Smithsonian.


TIE Project update

I spent most of today at CBA, installing software on the brand new lab computers that CBA is lending us. We’re scheduled to set up next week. We still have to pick up consumables and other supplies/lab equipment which hopefully will include a couple more computers. Here are some pictures:

Boxes and boxes!
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(Yep – that’s me!)

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My brother installing Windows OS

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Ambitionz
Day 10
80 Dayz to go

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