The shuttle Atlantis lifted off today for the last time.
It's hard to believe that there will be no more shuttle missions in my lifetime. I grew up with rocket launches and the space shuttle program. In fact, my Dad used to work at Cape Canaveral. I was young, but I remember visiting the Cape and being fascinated with the space program; witnessing a rocket launch and remembering the intense heat that was felt from a mile away. I remember wanting to be an astronaut when I grew up. As a young adult, I remember working at Walt Disney World and standing outside watching for the Challenger after it lifted off. I vividly remember the excitement of seeing it head towards space and then the horror of seeing a huge fireball in the sky and being totally shocked as the reality of what I had just witnessed began to sink in. I've heard countless sonic booms as the shuttle would return home after a mission. As a Central Floridian, I was even beginning to take all the shuttle launches and returns for granted. Unfortunately, I didn't even catch the launch on TV today as time got away from me, but, Atlantis is on its way with four astronauts and loads of supplies for the last time.
It's sad, but I pray the mission will be a success and for a safe return. Godspeed Atlantis and crew!
Till next time,