Second to None

STS-130 launching 1

Image via Wikipedia

The space shuttle Endeavour headed up, up and away this morning on what will be the second to last space shuttle flight.  Atlantis is scheduled to make the final flight some time in July.

Endeavour will meet up with the International Space Station on Wednesday to delivery an instrument that will search for antimatter and dark energy.  I can totally get behind that.

Can you believe the shuttle program is 30 years old?

As of Monday, Endeavour had logged more than 116 million miles, circled Earth some 4,500 times, spent 283 days in space and carried 170 people, including the last two people to fly a space shuttle for the first time.

I always loved visiting Cape Canaveral.  Seeing the massive buildings and the machinery that moves the shuttles to the launch site.  For some reason, I also really loved seeing the buzzards that circle about those buildings.  The wildness of Florida commingled with all the sights of great human advancement.

Of note for this flight is mission commander Mark Kelly, husband of the recently wounded Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Remarkably, Giffords made a return visit to see Kelly off. She is still undergoing rehabilitation in a Houston hospital to recover from a gunshot wound to the head in an assassination attempt little more than four months ago.

The Arizona congresswoman was shielded from the cameras on launch day, as were the families of the other five astronauts. All watched the liftoff in private.

Let’s wish them a good trip, man.


About I.M. Pangs

digital verbal smog creator
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