[Photo, top: the final Space Shuttle launch, STS-135, taking off from Kennedy Space Center. Shot by Joel Rosenstein, Sawyer's dad. Below, the podcast team "puts their hands together to show unity and harmony between the team of Talking Space," photo by Dr. Lucy Rogers.]
One of the highlights of my trip to Florida last week to witness the final launch of the Space Shuttle was meeting Sawyer Rosenstein [Twitter], a 17-year old college freshman from New Jersey.
Sawyer loves space (as do all of us here at Boing Boing), and he's a flight director who runs simulated space missions at the Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Center, sharing the wonders of space with people "ages 6 to 106."
Sawyer and friends do a podcast called Talking Space [Twitter], and their episode this week is really worth a listen. I believe they have a special "end of the shuttle era" episode coming up soon, too.
Here is a newspaper feature with more about Sawyer's life. Dude is my hero. The short version is that Sawyer was attacked by school bullies at age 12, and lost the ability to walk. He is a smart, kind, and inspiring person who refuses to be defined by what makes him "different," and instead chooses to be defined by what he loves.
He was a guest on the STS-135 SpaceFlightNow live launch webcast. Below, an iPhone snap I took of Sawyer (L) with space journalist Miles O'Brien (center) and astronaut Leroy Chiao (R) during the webcast, just before the shuttle took off from launchpad 39A.
(thanks, Miles O'Brien!)
The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game.
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