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 […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]