The space shuttle orbiter Columbia broke apart today attempting to land. It’s a sad day for all noble science and engineering causes.
The space shuttle was an inspiration to me. The first space shuttle was launched in April 1981, when I was in my freshman year of college. I had followed much of the space program through my youth, and was always amazed at what “they” had accomplished. But when the first shuttle went up, because I was in college, I had the sense that I could soon be one of “them”, and that it could be something that “we” accomplished. That realization, that I could be a part of the most significant advances in engineering, was eye-opening and inspiring to me. I’ll always think back on the space shuttle as the first possibility of me as a “real” engineer.
I grieve for the seven astronauts, I grieve for their families, and I grieve for the idealism that carried them aloft.