The Space Shuttle Enterprise: Last flight

When I was a kid, I was a geek. Heck….what am I talking about? I’m still a geek! Older, grumpier, balder. But I’m still a geek.

I was roughly ten years old when the space shuttle Columbia first took off. I had a toy Enterprise, the prototypical space shuttle. I played with that thing a lot. My parents were going broke at the time, so I didn’t get a lot of Star Wars toys. So the Space Shuttle got to ferry a lot of my childhood dreams to the imaginary stars.

The Shuttle was, to me, more than a machine. It was the symbol of what America was becoming. It was the realization of the promise of science fiction. The Age of the Future was now the present. In my mind, it will always be linked to Reagan, because he was the president when Columbia first was launched, and when the Challenger tragically exploded. I grew up, life became complicated, and I had a wife and kid to support. I worked like a dog, and sold my soul to the corporate devil in order to provide for them.

I can imagine the spirit of Lenin, smiling over the prospect of his nation leading the world to the stars, as America googles NFL draft picks....

Now, I wake up. The dream is over.

Yes, I gave up the dream of being an astronaut long ago. But, somewhere, buried deep in that place where childhood dreams don’t ever quite die (I hope) there was a still, small voice that said, “You don’t go up there, but your countrymen do. You will never touch the stars, but your son may. Some of the money you work so desperately hard for goes to pay for the Vision of Enlightenment. The Shuttle continues to launch.”

It is finished.

The Enterprise was flown on its last flight today. The Shuttle is designed to embark on a hundred missions. Discovery flew the most flights of any Shuttle. Thirty-nine. Not even half of the promise was kept.

Russia continues to fly missions to the International Space Station. Supposedly, we are the only Superpower, but they continue to explore space. We’re too busy having the Secret Service explore female anatomy. That’s more important, anyway.

One of my favorite T. V. series was Babylon 5. In one of my favorite scenes, Garibaldi (conservative radio icon Jerry Doyle), is discussing a similar topic with a friend. I think he tells it best. “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

What more can I say? Ray Bradbury had two books. Anthologies of his short stories. R is for Rocket. And another, S is for Space. In these stories, he spoke of the wonder, the joy, the glory, the hope….of reaching for the stars. We have traded our dreams for The Dreams of Our Fathers.

If Heaven’s not my home….then Lord, what will I do….?





2 Responses to “The Space Shuttle Enterprise: Last flight”

  1. Bitter Clinger

    Since the dissolution of the Space Program we now rely on a nation who, despite all the lip service to the contrary is NOT our friend and ally, to get our Astronauts and equipment into orbit. Russia, yes Russia.

    The same Russia who, just over 20 years ago, was still locked in the grip of communism and our sworn enemy.

    The same Russia who repeatedly sides with China (another enemy of the US) against US interests.

    The same Russia and China who have backed Tehran in the ongoing nuclear crisis.(

    The same Russia and China who have lobbied Tehran for a look at a captured US drone.(

    The Hopey Changey Children would have you believe that if we just go along to get along that everything will be alright. That the US has gotten too big, we’re a bully nation, we’re greedy. Just give Tehran a nuclear reactor, they only want to make electricity. Who are we to deny them nuclear power?

    Let Russia carry our satellites into space. They won’t pry them apart to learn about our technological capabilities. They’re our friends. Because they say so.

    Appeasment never works. Just ask Hitler. Oops sorry you can’t he shot himself as the Allies were closing in on him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s