Space, the final frontier

Photo by Rod Ostoski

I’m going to go out on a limb and use a phrase I don’t think I’ve ever used before, but I am so stoked on life right now!

And it’s all because next week I get to travel down to Kennedy Space Center to interview a Flagler alum for Flagler Magazine. He is doing some pretty cool things with NASA’s transition of the shuttle program to the new Ares rockets. And he is going to give us a tour of … wait for it … the launch pad with TWO shuttles on it (pictured).

If you don’t know me personally, words cannot begin to describe how excited I am. Not only will this be the last time you’ll see two shuttles out on the launch pads, but also this guy is on the front lines of the future of the space program. (Oh, and he uses fun space-speak like “standby for details” and “copy that.” I’ll have to watch myself to make sure I don’t start quoting random lines from “Apollo 13.”)

Last summer, NASA announced its last shuttle mission and it really made me excited for the future. Plans are underway to continue missions to the moon and then on to Mars. I can’t believe this could happen in my lifetime.

The aforementioned alum is working on supply chain procedures for the new program, and more importantly how to transition from the current system and bridge the five-year gap between the shuttle and the new missions. (More on this in the next issue of Flagler Magazine.) He’s even done some simulation for interplanetary supply chain procedures. It sounds like something out of a “Star Trek” episode: “Ready the crew for interplanetary supply chain maneuvers, Mr. Spock.”

It may be cliché, but the future is here. Unfortunately, the future is also a bit uncertain.

Budgets are tight, as it often is with NASA, and now even more so with the economy in turmoil. So it remains to be seen how quickly this next phase moves forward, but one thing is certain: the shuttle fleet’s days are numbered. Hey, even the Enterprise was eventually taken out of commission.

Well, I’m off to brush up on my space exploration knowledge. This is one of the rare days when work won’t feel like work.

This is the part of the episode (TNG-wise anyway) where Capt. Picard would say, “Mr. Data, make it so.”

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