On July 19th at 5:57 a.m. the shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time. It’s crew: Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Rex Walheim and Sandra Magnus are the last Americans, for a while, to make it into space. Any future visits by Americans to the International Space Station will be as passengers on Russian or private company rockets .
I know things have changed but I find it ironic that over fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to beat the Russians in space by putting a man on the moon. And we did it –July 20, 1969. Now almost forty-two years to the day later, we’re stopping and are going to pay the Russians to haul our keesters back and forth. I know we’re “friends” with them but it is another country and anything can and will happen in the future. I guess I just don’t like us being dependent on someone else. But that’s how the world runs nowadays. We’re all intertwined. Maybe my feelings grow from being raised during the “cold war” or maybe it’s American pride in me raising its head. The prospect doesn’t sit too still within me.
I know we haven’t given up on space exploration but NASA’s plans are a bit fuzzy. They say they’re going send Americans deeper into space to possibly explore Mars and asteroids. Maybe I’m being a bit shortsighted. Maybe it’s good we spend the money toward new horizons and let the Russians and others spend theirs doing what we have already conquered.
How do you feel about the changes in our space program?