Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Era Slowy Winds Down

You probably don't know this, but Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to liftoff for the final time. This will be her 39th mission for NASA.

Endeavor and Atlantis have scheduled missions for later this year, and that will be the end of America's Shuttle program. I have to admit, I'm a bit melancholy over the whole thing. I always intended to go to Florida to see the shuttle launch once. One of those things you figure you'll always have time to do "someday."

Lyrics by Neil Peart

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapors, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, t minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged --- a humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick --- you could cut it with a knife
Technology --- high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud, the smoke lingers
High in the air
In fascination --- with the eyes of the world
We stare...

*Dedicated with thanks to astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their Inspiration and cooperation

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