Back to space

It was magnificent watching the space shuttle launch this morning although I do admit to feeling a bit uneasy beforehand. I don’t know when was the last launch that I watched. I don’t think I was even aware that the Columbia was up when I was awakened that Saturday morning in February 2003 by my then editor who told me the shuttle exploded over North Central and East Texas.

The Columbia tragedy touched a lot of lives of people I know because of where the debris came to rest. I also saw portions of debris that day while working on a story about the crash.

So I guess that is why I am glad the shuttle launch seemingly went off without a hitch this morning. Seeing that spaceship take off also rekindled a lot of childhood memories when I watched Mercury and Apollo flights launched on television as a kid. I never will forget the first moon landing. It was just an awesome moment in the history of the world.

The space program has its critics, especially those saying that the exorbitant sums of money could do other good. But space exploration has brought about tons of scientific and commercial benefits to make our lives better and easier. And even if wasn’t providing all such benefits the space program helps lift the human spirit. It lets people think about what is possible. It makes little kids dream. I think it’s a great bargain.

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