As the launch of STS-135 approaches, I am sorry to be sitting at home up north and not down in Cape Canaveral wishing Atlantis and her crew the very best as they launch for the last time. It is indeed the end of an era – the last of the space shuttle launches that inspired so many kids like me to pursue careers in science, math, engineering, and technology. I was fortunate enough to see my first launch at Cape Canaveral back in February when Discovery took her last trip into orbit, and I can honestly say it was a great culmination for me after watching launches for years on television.
The space shuttle program represents the amazing things that humans can accomplish when they put their mind and heart into something. We as humans strive to explore and gain knowledge about our surroundings, and this platform serves as a beautiful reminder of that fact.
I recently spoke to an 8th grade class about space exploration and pursuing science, math, and engineering careers and we discussed the space shuttle program. It was great to hear so many young minds excited about space exploration and human space flight because of the space shuttle program. Some even wanted to know the best way to become an astronaut because the shuttle inspired them.
As I sadly watch the end of an era and perhaps the dawn of a new one, it is my sincerest hope that everyone takes time out of their day to watch the last launch and that it gets the appropriate media attention it deserves. Safe travels, Atlantis. Bring our brave astronauts home safely one last time.