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Launch America: Repost from July 18, 2012

I am revisiting some old posts during the lead up to the launch of DM-2! Two American astronauts are scheduled to launch from American soil next week for the first time in nearly a decade! All of us at NASA are beyond excited to witness the first new human-rated launch vehicle and spacecraft since the Space Shuttle!

Today's post comes to you all the way from July 18, 2012! At that time I worked for the Army as a Flight Test Engineer! Sometimes we would travel to locations and scope them out as helicopter testing sites (i.e. types of terrain, refuel and hangar services, proximity to hotels, etc). I wrote this piece of prose after visiting Edwards Air Force Base and seeing all of the history there. If you know anything about early NASA days (back then, NACA) you know Edwards was a common stop for the test pilots that would go on to become America's first astronauts. Now, the base holds some of the most interesting test vehicles and artifacts! My zest for the future of human spaceflight is rooted deep in the narrative of its history. 


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She Is


She is no stranger to the desert, the scrub, the dust, the sun.
It melts into her skin,
And warms her from within.





She squints from the glint - and imagines the scenes,
the people and their machines.
Her mind is racing, heart is pounding, soul is thirsty.
She wants to store the feeling from this place, the electricity, the innovation, the respect.


It's chain-link fences hold back millions of memories,
Rusting into dust, just as the brilliant minds that created them.


Their stories are not all happy, but undeniably meaningful, absolutely poignant.
Their metal skins are just like hers - a bond connecting woman and machine, memories and miracles, lonesomeness and legend.




And some are championed, celebrated, protected.
Those machines are the movie stars of this place.
They are watched and cherished,
They are science fiction come-trues.
But their time is coming, just as their wiser brothers already know,
They will melt into the memories too.




So what is the significance of this seemingly insignificant place?
Where are the parents of these freak-show contraptions?
When will they transition to complacent?
Who will remember this place...remember them...after its all over, after everyone has moved on?




Who is going to hold onto the dream set forth, the idea turned tangible, the legacy of generations?
The first commercial, reusable, round-trip to space...
The idea only realized via the crumpled, pitted, failed and forgotten pieces of yesteryear in the surround.


She is.






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