Friday, February 12, 2010

Space Coast

A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged. One can't put the difference into words. ~C.S. Lewis, Perelandra

While in Florida, we found out a Space Shuttle lift-off was planned around 4:30 AM on Sunday before we were going to leave, so my husband decided that we might like to go the the Kennedy Space Center, about an hour's drive, on Friday, even though the weather report warned that rain was expected. We could not choose the tour we wanted because they were readying for the lift-off, but we had a great day and it did not even sprinkle until near closing time. I so wish we had not stopped in the shop to look for a souvenir because that is when it began to pour and we left with not one but four souvenirs, one astronaut Barbie-like doll and three rain ponchos with the NASA logo, which did not save our shoes and feet as we made our way to the van.

Of the different displays there, the Princess was mesmerized by an animated display of illustrating how they planned to update and integrate designs of an Apollo-like command module atop a rocket similar to the one that boosts the shuttle to return to the moon. However, our current president is against the moon proposal, which could affect a number of companies with government contracts, therefore jobs, in the Space Coast area. What was a booming area with a fast-growing population contributing to research and technology twenty years ago is obviously not what it was. In fact, there are only four more scheduled shuttle missions and the direction for NASA afterward seems to be in question.

The take-off of Endeavor on Sunday morning was scrubbed in the last ten minutes due to low cloud cover. It was rescheduled for Monday morning around 4:15 AM. Yes, we, including the Princess, were up both mornings to watch the launch on TV and then run outside to see the fire in the sky from 50 miles away. Even at that distance it was still spectacular. There was one place at the Kennedy Space Center with plaques of every one of the missions and the number truly amazed me. This launch was STS-130, which stands for the 130th mission of the Space Transportation System.

I remember being just my daughter's age when the first manned Apollo mission launched and orbited the earth for eleven days. I will never forget less than a year later watching Neil Armstrong, a fellow Ohioan from a little-known town called Wapakoneta (Native American roughly translated "clay river"), being the first man to step on the moon and uttering this ever famous saying, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." That step from the last rung to the ground, by the way, was not that small! In fact, on the second mission to the moon, Pete Conrad remarked, "That may have been one small step for Neil, but it's a long one for me!"

There is a lesser known story about one astronaut. James Irwin of Apollo 12 was the eighth person to walk on the moon and the first to drive the lunar rover. While looking at Earth teaming with life compared to the barren moon, he had a religious awakening and later decided to search for Noah's Ark.

~ My Lord, it is amazing what people desire to do and how they can develop the means to do it. That men have reached out to touch the moon over 200,000 miles away is a testament of the spirit You have breathed into us. ~

1 comment:

  1. You know scripture often hits me like a lightening bolt. I remember when I first came across the scriptures that say satan inhabits the desolate places & the skies ~ I can't remember the exact quote but I instantly thought of all the other planets of our solar system ~ barren, desolate, full of ice & wind & raging storms & devoid of life. God gives me some odd ones! ☺


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.