Shuttle Memories

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The final launch of the space shuttle Atlantis marks the end of an American era in space. I find it funny that the shuttle program turned 30 years old this year as I turn 30 next week. Perhaps I need to be decommissioned as well?

One of my favorite memories of the shuttle program involves my Grandpa, his motor home, and a trip to the Mohave Desert. I remember my Dad, my brother Mike, and I heading up to my Grandpa’s house one evening. The Space Shuttle was scheduled to land in California the next day. So we met up with my Grandpa Ayers at his home in Orange County and piled into his motor home. Cruising along the highway, I remember driving that night through Los Angeles and into the wilds of the Mohave.

The next morning, we awoke early. It was freezing! My Grandpa turned on the heater which helped quite a bit. Walking outside, we were greeted with a flat expanse of desert, Rogers Dry Lake. I will never forget what happened next, the sonic booms that announced the shuttle’s return to our atmosphere. BOOM, BOOM! With that, the shuttle flew in and landed. 4 hours worth of driving for a priceless experience. Well worth it.

My wife told me this this morning:

Mom remembers watching a launch while in labor with me and then three days later in the hospital she watched it land.
The Space Shuttle has long been a symbol of American pride and of our dominance in space. Today we leave our rightful place among the stars and give it up to the Russians and Chinese; Today is a sad day filled with great memories.
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