Sunday, July 24, 2011


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?


  1. First of all, I should qualify that I live very close to Johnson Space Center and have many friends who work with the space program. Secondly, I think we need a new vision, and I'm not sure that Mars is it. Moreover, I think it's a good idea to encourage commercial involvement in space. However, we have in one fell swoop abandoned human space flight with no good plan in the meantime. I do NOT like hitching rides with other countries, and I wouldn't like it if it was Britain instead of Russia. Around here, it is very discouraging that we have simply shut down our shuttle program with no alternative, and many jobs are being lost. I hope we lay out a better plan in the near future! My two cents. Take it for what it's worth! Thanks, Donna.

  2. Donna, for what it's worth, I agree with what you've said here. I'm upset that we have shut down our shuttle program...and I'm going to stop typing right now. LOL Thanks for this post.

  3. As a lover of everything sci-fi, of course this news devastated me. Other than the thousands of ppl now out of jobs, I wonder what "turfing" our space program means for majoring in the subject @ the collegiate level...And does that mean if one does specialize in it, they also have to learn to speak Russian, in addition, to have a future?? I asked a gentleman I recently ran into--who works @ Brookhaven Lab--where he thought the future of space travel lied and he speculated: where we'll be able to take off into space right out of Kennedy airport. Intriguing... ;)


  4. I'm upset by this for a number of reasons - including those you've mentioned. I'm also upset because I fear the shutdown of our shuttle program shows only a small piece of a bigger sense of disinterest from this country. There used to be awe for new adventures. Excitement and pride as well. Now, IMO, there's too much 'what's in it for me'. And there's less interest - from grade-level children through to mature adults - in math and science. I worry about the future of this country and only hope it doesn't go the way of the shuttle program. I find this very sad and frightening.