Space fans around the world today mark a bittersweet milestone: two years since the final Space Shuttle launch, STS-135, on July 8, 2011.
I was there watching Miles O'Brien and the SpaceFlight Now live webcast crew do their thing. Like everyone who was fortunate enough to be there that day, I'll never forget it. Even the snapshots I Flickr'd that day make me tear up. The rocket boosters' red glare, the sonic booms bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our space program was still there.
Of course, America still has a space program, but things have changed.
Atlantis and her crew landed safely on July 21, 2011, and you can see her at KSC in a beautiful new exhibit.
But it's sad to think back on those glorious shuttle launches and know they'll never happen again. For so many people, they were like seasons with which to mark the unfolding of one's own life.
Perhaps no one feels that loss as closely as the space laborers Miles O'Brien lovingly referred to as "The Shuttle Shokunin."
Above: Miles O'Brien covered more than 40 space shuttle launches. He led CNN's coverage of the loss of space shuttle, Columbia, and co-anchored astronaut John Glenn's return-to-space mission with television news legend Walter Cronkite. Just before the final liftoff, he reported to PBS NewsHour on "Shuttle ennui." I remember the day we shot this, in the back yard of the Inn at Cocoa Beach, which is near Cape Canaveral. It's one of many Florida towns where the local economy was wrecked after the shuttle program ended.
Below, Miles on what the end of the shuttle program meant for Florida and where the program fell short.
Video from cameras mounted on the two solid rocket boosters that helped propel space shuttle Atlantis into orbit on July 8, the last shuttle mission in US space history. Video shows launch from Kennedy Space Center, and the rocket boosters' subsequent water landing downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.
[Video Link] My new book came out today. It’s called Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects. The books is focused on teaching girls lifelong skills — like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools — as well as how to be creative problem […]
Hillary Clinton made her first extended public remarks about Edward Snowden late last week, and unfortunately she misstated some basic facts about the NSA whistleblower and how events have played out in the last year. Here’s a breakdown of what she said and where she went wrong: Clinton: “If he were concerned and wanted to […]
The Wall Street Journal was first to report that The Federal Communications Commission will propose new open Internet rules this Thursday that will allow content companies to pay Internet service providers “for special access to consumers.” Under the new rules, service providers may not block or discriminate against specific websites, but they can charge certain […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]