Space Shuttle Endeavor lists off from laucn pad 39A

Yesterday Feb 8, 2010 was the last scheduled Space Shuttle night launch. STS-130 on board Endeavour. Night launches are spectacular. I should have made plans to go see that. My brother did.

Next there are only 5 3 missions left for the space shuttle fleet.

And not only the space shuttle program has been canceled, our moon program has been canceled as well, without any real plan behind it except ideas. In short, it seems the USA administration has cancelled/killed the manned program completely while military spending has been increased; what is wrong with that picture? Plenty.

And to keep others from saying the manned space program hasn’t been really killed, the president has thrown 2 bones at NASA: 1) increased NASA budget (but no real plan behind it) and 2) extended the operational life of the space station, except there is a problem with that.

Yes, the space station operations have been expanded to 2020, but our astronauts won’t have any capability to reach the space station, except by hitchhiking with the Russians or other. Not that I have anything against the Russians with their great minds and who have been leaders in the space program, but having no answer on how the USA will get to space except depending on other countries is just sad.

And ironically, while the USA has canceled the moon program, the Iranians are claiming they are planning to go after it…

The Russians and Chinese and now the Iranians, seem will rule the space program — at least they have the vision (and it all starts with vision). The USA manned space program seems to be more and more on the hands of the private sector-lead endeavors; maybe, I hope.

So there goes, the aerospace engineering minds of the USA, “no place” to go — and I wonder if they will end up on other countries building their national space programs? I hope some of those engineers have entrepreneurship spirit and go start their own aerospace firms.

I’m proud of my time working in the Space Shuttle program, the awesome people that I worked with, the software that I wrote that flew and still flies, the twenty-something missions that I supported at the Mission Evaluation Room, my Silver Snoopy, and each time the bird flew was/is so exciting, and together with other thousands of people helped keep the manned space program going, flying and leading the way… There is NOTHING like working in the space program.

If am very concerned for the next generation of aerospace engineers, many going to school right now, my nephew being one and the son of a good friend of mine another, and I bet are confused, asking to themselves “…what the hell; should I really continue to follow my dreams? What should I do?”. That concerns me a whole lot…

Let’s see what will happen next…


Image source: NASA via the EPOCH Times