1,000 miles per hour

June 11, 2008 by Machteld A. Smith, Senior Editor

At age six I dreamed of becoming a trapeze artist. Never got to fly around the circus tent. Wiser at 16, I was inspired by rocket launches and manned space missions, glued to the black-and-white TV screen at every blast off. You gotta start somewhere, and at last I got into the air as a stewardess on KLM’s DC-8 and DC-9 aircraft. Loved the job, but the urge to fly myself became stronger. So I became a private pilot.

But, space missions are still beckoning. Imagine being suspended high above the Earth’s surface–the ultimate thrill! To feed my space hunger, I visited NASA’s Web site and latched onto a couple of pictures:

During the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965, Ed White became the first American to conduct a space walk. The space walk started on the third orbit when White opened the hatch and used a hand-held maneuvering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.
Image Credit: NASA

Following in the footsteps of their predecessor, Ed White, the STS-124 mission specialists Mike Fossum and Ron Garan conducted a space walk on June 3, 2008.
Image Credit: NASA

I also watched videos of the STS-124 mission shuttle launch (video might take a second to load) and space walk. I’m still awed.

Okay, I won’t get to go there myself, so I’ve done the next best thing: I am sending my name to the moon. Really! I’ve got the certificate from NASA to prove it.

We’re getting more blasé about the whole space affair. How come? When was the last time you paid attention? The launch countdown ticks away with fewer viewers and is buried by dreadful news.

But, I still get excited when the shuttle launches and lands! Do you?

P.S., the Space Shuttle Discovery undocked today from the International Space Station on its way back to Earth. The landing is planned for Saturday, June 14.

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One Response to “1,000 miles per hour”

  1. Steve Gee Says:

    Astronaut Ed White died in 1967. Space shuttle Discovery was delivered to NASA in 1983.

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