July 18, 2011
It seems like Atlantis just docked a few days ago, but their mission here is done. It has been absolutely exhausting, but awesome at the same time. The STS-135 crew (Chris, Doug, Sandy and Rex) were wonderful to have onboard!! I won’t call them guests because they were more like family.
It was emotional today to be part of the departure ceremony and hatch closing for the last flying American human spacecraft. There are many things I’d like to say, but for tonight, I’ll limit it to sharing the attached photograph. It shows Atlantis packed and ready to depart for home tomorrow. I think this one’s worth at least a thousand words…
Living the Dream!
2 thoughts on “A Thousand Words”
I have followed the Shuttle program from STS-1 through STS-135. I’d like to offer a couple observations complementing the NASA team and its historic success! Congratulations to everyone involved with NASA and the Space Shuttle Program!
I drove up from Hollywood, FL for each of the initial launch attempts crewed by John Young & Bob Crippen and was there at Jetty State Park for the first liftoff. I saw numerous more receiving on-base passes and a couple while putting Eastern Airlines B-727-200 aircraft through post “D” Check FCF’s over Lake Okeechobee.
1. 0546 on landing day for STS-135; Thursday 21 July, 2011. I stand in front of my house and watch as the ISS orbits over South Fla as a very appropriate pre-curser to the Shuttle Atlantis which was on approach to runway 15 and over the Yucatan peninsula. How striking that the last Shuttle be escorted home as in a military fly over just 5 minutes before Atlantis turns final for the last STS landing. As if escorted by the very vehicle the Shuttle is responsible for building in space. The Shuttles unique double sonic boom blasting through the air as if a send off salute to the ISS.
2. The STS-135 Crew made up of a Navy Capt. for CMDR, a Marine Col. for pilot and USAF Col. for Flight Engineer and civilian mission specialist. As if this crew was picked to represent the military departments that crewed the Shuttles over the 30 years.
3. When I see the MLG stop points stenciled onto the Shuttle runway surface in the NASA image “End of an Era”, I cannot help but relate that to the markers showing the first flights of the 1903 Wright Flyer up at Kill Devil Hills, NC. Think about that for awhile! Over 100 years of powered flight, with the last 30 of those years witnessing the Shuttles fly as they flex their muscles putting an exclamation point to “Powered Flight”. This STS program has made our Nation proud and I’m very sure Orville & Wilber Wright are both smiling!
Steven P. Vernier
Director, T56/501D Engineering
Wood Group Turbopower, LLC.
Visit us at http://www.woodgroupturbopower.com
Ph: 305-423-2321 Cell: 305-582-4538
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