This has little to do with homesteading or husbandry, but I am very excited about this launch today. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s there was a lot to be excited about space. The possibilities and adventure didn’t escape me at my young age. I still remember sitting in the crowded library at Norman Rockwell Elementary in 1981 with all eyes focused on the television waiting for that gleaming white space shuttle to launch into space for the very first time.
When those powerful engines ignited and it lifted off, my dreams went soaring with it. The videos of astronauts in space, doing work inside and outside the shuttle amazed me. I loved the shuttle program and wrote letters to NASA regularly. In response they often sent inspiration letters back to me and each return letter included pictures of space shuttles, rockets and astronauts. I dedicated an entire wall of my bedroom to NASA, including a scale replica model of the Challenger that I painstakingly put together and hung from the ceiling.
Over the years there was a dream in my mind of reaching the stars. Obviously I never made it there though. I slowly came to the realization as I advanced through school that science and math were not my gift. The dream was never crushed by that as I accepted that some are meant to reach the stars while others can be inspired and be an inspiration to others to keep dreaming big.
Like many Americans I was shocked and dismayed when the shuttle program was shut down only to discover that after decades of investment and research, the United States had no other viable means of getting humans into space.
Then, several years ago, a private company named SpaceX appeared from the shadows with an incredible mission. They not only dreamed of returning Americans to space from American soil, but their end goal is to take humans to Mars. I can’t say that I have followed every step of SpaceX, but I have payed quite a bit of attention to what they have been doing over the years. The very first time they successfully launched a rocket and then returned the booster to land on a ship floating in the ocean was an absolutely amazing feat.
There have been many other incredible firsts for SpaceX, but today’s launch is something I and millions of other Americans have been waiting for. The return of Americans to space, from American soil, on American rockets is very exciting in itself, but if you spend a little time on the SpaceX website you will realize that the technology these people have developed (and are developing) is light years beyond what we are used to seeing from our traditional space programs.
If you’ve ever watched a space flight in the pat, you may remember seeing a crew cabin stuffed with knobs, dials and switches with just a little bit of room left for the astronauts. The SpaceX Dragon Crew Capsule looks like nothing we’ve ever seen before. There are no visible wires, switched or any other ugly control boxes or surfaces. The capsule can be configured to carry between 4 to 7 astronauts and the only control surface in the craft is a touch-screen panel. I’m still not sold on the idea of replacing all controls with a touch-screen only approach, but if anyone can sell the advancement of technology it is SpaceX. I imagine in 10-15 years I won’t even remember thinking this approach was questionable.
At any rate, I am hoping to be able to watch the launch live today and I hope, if you are able, to watch it too. The time to tune in is 4:33pm Eastern Time (3:33pm Central Time). There are many places online to watch it, but I plan to watch it on YouTube:
Even though I never made it to space, the wonderful view of the stars we have in the country still reminds me that God is an awesome creator and His heavens are both an inspiration and that He is vastly more than we often give Him credit.
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