|Model of Space Shuttle|
Kennedy Space Center
I am a child of the space age, born after the launch of Sputnik. As many boys my age, I played with G.I. Joe Action Figures. One of the accessory I received as a Christmas present was a Mercury Capsule and Space flight suit for Joe. I would slip Joe into that silver suit, attach his helmet, slip him into the seat of the capsule, and in my imagination launch him into space. That Mercury Capsule accessory included a 45-rpm recording of an excerpt from John Glenn’s historic Friendship 7 flight, when he became the first American to orbit the earth.
I remember during elementary school, assembling in a large room to watch live Gemini launches via a black and white television. Sometimes we would sit for what seemed like hours as countdowns were extended due to technical difficulties. I think we were once even sent back to class, only to be recalled to the assembly area when a postponed countdown was resumed.
I remember a Christmas Eve broadcast from Apollo Astronauts orbiting the moon when they read Scripture, and watching, with my parents, the first lunar landing.
I remember building a plastic Revell model of the Saturn V. Fully assembled, it stood nearly 45 inches tall. I remember obtaining from the Gulf filling station across the street from my house a cardboard punch-out model of the LEM. Once assembled, I would tie a string to its top, suspend it from a high point, and slowly lower it, as if it were landing on the moon.
I mourn the end of the Shuttle program and desire to see Americans, or better yet, a consortium of states, sending humans back to the moon, on to Mars, and setting our sights once again upon the stars. Watching today’s launch of the space shuttle Endeavour has increased that desire.