Friday, July 8, 2011

STS 135 Shuttle

From my home base here in Orlando, it's a short hour drive to the edge of the Kennedy Space Center grounds and the open viewing areas of pad 39 and the VAB. So, that's what I did this morning: a quick hour's drive, and then me and a million of my closest friends waited on the river's edge for an on-time launch (has that ever happened before?)

In any event, it was awesome and perplexing at the same time as a great program comes to a successful conclusion after 30 years launching (and relaunching) the most complex vehicle ever built by anyone. (Don't let'em tell you that complexity can not be conquered by a little skill and science)

And why exactly did the program end with five serviceable vehicles and an operational destination to go to every couple of months? I have no idea, and I doubt it's really money. Hopefully, manned space will press on from here as it did when the shuttle replaced Apollo.

And, haven't we been hearing there's a need for technical talent in this country; that's we not graduating enough, and not retaining trained immigrants?  Well, here's a technical workforce with numbers in the thousands.  Hopefully, we don't toss it away.

Photo: NASA

 Bookmark this on Delicious  
Are you on LinkedIn?    Share this article with your network by clicking on the link.


  1. The July 7th issue of Nature has an article titled "NASA faces dearth of mission leaders," page 15-16.

  2. Glen: thanks for the point to Nature:

    See also a more lengthy article in The Economist that says about the same thing: poor value, but great drama.

    My own view is that is more a matter of imagination and vision than any technical or monetary issue. The shuttle was originally to be a 'transportation system'. When I worked in the overhead community, we worked hard with NASA on our requirements until an executive order from the White House separated the shuttle from the military. Oh well!


Please add your value with a comment