I may be getting an early birthday present this year: a space shuttle launch on February 3rd. Woot! Unfortunately, it's bittersweet....an awesome event and the last scheduled flight of Space Shuttle Discovery.
Disco is a workhorse. She has completed 38 missions, spent nearly a year in space, circled the Earth nearly 6,000 times, and traveled over 140,000,000 miles. She has deployed 31 satellites, including the Hubble Space Telescope, a unique instrument connecting the general population to important space discoveries through beautiful, breathtaking photographs. She is older than me, and her legacy, her program is the only US manned space craft I have grown up with. She represents a community stretching from coast-to-coast and generation-to-generation. She carried a national hero (John Glenn) and the first foreigner. She was picked to complete the 100th shuttle mission. She was the one who got us back on the horse after the Challenger and Columbia disasters.
And I don't think its wrong to turn to her for inspiration. Yes, she's a machine. And yes, newsflash: I'm nerdy. She has led us as a nation and as a world into a deeper relationship with space, sometimes...most times, without us even realizing it. She has changed us for the better. The only question left now is: who will fill her shoes?
A good friend shared an amazing video with me. He is kind of my NASA-go-to-guy. We joke about trading jobs every once in a while, not that we don't like our own jobs, but it would be fun to change it up every once in a while (I think he's just jealous of my flight suit ;-). Anyway, it's a great video. It's a little long, but completely worth it.