Sunday, July 24, 2011

Say Goodnight, Gracie


(not STS-135 but still a nice photo; "beep beep beep")

I was in second grade when the first Space Shuttle launched.  My teacher had asked the day before if one of the students could bring in a TV for us to watch the launch in the classroom.  This was before the days of DirecTV, the web (!), cable (for the most part), pretty much anything that involved TV in quantity vs quality. Broadcast TV in Puerto Rico at the time meant 3 stations and a scattering of wannabe's.  The notion that "this is going to be on TV without commercial break tomorrow and we're going to watch it" was as big a deal as it sounds.  Think Walter Cronkite-JFK assassination and then turn it around.

I remember her closing the windows to darken the room (it was a small b&w set that someone brought in) and us sitting on the tiled floor up-front from our desks around the blue light, not really knowing what the deal was but.....

3....2...1....

and it took off.   COLUMBIA.

My other classroom memory of the Shuttle, sadly, was in seventh grade when the principal came in and just blankly said "it blew up".  The teacher was not pleased, and not because her class had been interrupted.

Thirteen lifetimes later, it seems, it's over.  I'm not sad for the Shuttle program itself; there's always a better way to do something, even if it takes some time.  Give it time.

(link & image go to 30 years of Shuttle launches, with nice music)

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: