One of the many regrets I have in life is never returning to the Kennedy Space Centre for a shuttle launch. My family went there once in 1986 while on our second trip to Walt Disney World. It was an amazing experience, but I think being able to witness a launch would’ve been even more spectacular. With today’s final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, bringing to an end a 30 year space program, it’s something I will never get to do.
I don’t know what the future holds for American space exploration, but I think it is time the private sector took over. Space exploration has brought a lot of new technology to our every day lives, so I understand how important it is to continue pushing ourselves higher and farther away from our comfort zone. However, I don’t believe that the government should take any role in that push any longer. I believe that when the private sector takes over space exploration, it will be open to more individuals and things will happen at a rapid pace.
I remember a day when I was in 6th grade, we were sitting in class when we got word that the shuttle was going to be flying overhead. I don’t remember if it was going to land in either White Sands Missle Range in New Mexico or at Edwards Air Force Base in California or was going to land back at Kennedy Space Centre, but either way it was going to be quite visible to us. Only my teacher didn’t believe what we were told, so she would not let us go outside to see it. The entire school was allowed to go outside to see the shuttle pass over, except those of us in my class. We could hear the sonic boom as it passed overhead and I knew I’d missed out on something big.
I remember being at home the day Challenger blew up as it carried seven individuals into the heavens. I was devistated for the loss of so many, including the beloved teacher, Christa McAuliffe.
There have been far more ups than downs in the last 30 years, but I believe it’s time to hand the space exploration reigns over to others.