The childhood joy of space
It’s space night in the mistersnappy household. I’ve just finished watching Moonwalk One, which isn’t anything to do with the recently departed Michael Jackson, but a long lost film documenting the moon landings of 40 years ago. Obviously it’s highly recommended (by me) and available on Amazon at a good price!! To round off my evening I’d planned to watch the live stream, in HD no less, of the Space Shuttle Endeavour launch from Florida. It’s already been delayed a couple of times due to weather and they had a 40% chance of success today. Alas, at the last minute, or 5, the countdown was halted to resume in 48 hours.
I remember my excitement at the very first shuttle launch in the early 80’s, rushing home to watch it on the TV. Before the days when everyone had a VHS I think I recorded it onto an audio cassette which probably languishes in a cupboard at my parent’s house. Apart from a period in my life when girls and beer where more important, I’ve retained that childhood excitement for shuttle launches, while the world seems to have gotten used to the regular trips into near space. The advent of live web streaming of both launches and space walks makes these special occasions even more enjoyable for my inner 10 year old. The idea of watching astronauts working for hours on end, from the comfort of my desk, on a live stream is utterly fantastic and I could, and do, watch them for hours. They’re strangely relaxing! Just to make things a little better, I can now watch in glorious HD. What utter joy!
I still find it a little strange that we, on earth, take these fantastical feats of engineering, science and, dare I say it, project management, as the norm. Most launches don’t even get a side glance on the news these days. If they do, it would be for something like the continued delays of Endeavour, or the fact that there are only a few missions left before the Space Shuttle programme ends.
There will soon be no more significant manned launches out of NASA until Orion in about 2014 and I wonder if this period of reflection and development and the potential return of man to the moon in 2020 will re-egnite the interest of a new generation of space geeks and kidults alike.
Check out the latest delay announcement from NASA tv…