Saturday, September 22, 2012

Endeavour Flies over So. California

Endeavour Flies Over So. California

The Shuttle Endeavour headed to its permanent home at the Los Angeles California Science Center yesterday. It flew from Florida to the Antelope Valley, Edwards Air Force Base where a lot of work was done designing, building, maintaining and “catching” the shuttle during its 30+ years of service.

I know a retired shuttle catcher. His job was to prep the shuttles that were forced to land in California due to bad weather in Florida and Texas for the piggyback ride back to Florida. He was always fun to talk to and he was proud of the work he did.

Throughout the day yesterday Endeavour flew around California visiting tourist attractions and places important to the history of the shuttle project and space flight. The 747 carrying Endeavour flew over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, JPL and Caltech. Endeavor went over Burbank and many of the studios, including the Disney Studio with a turn over Griffith Park and the observatory there. From the Griffith Observatory you could see a beautiful site of the shuttle over the Hollywood sign! Part of the trip took Endeavor over Disneyland! Burbank is where a lot of the early aerospace companies were located during the early days of the Space Race.

As I saw video and still shots of Endeavor from differing viewpoints at the DLR I though, what would Walt Disney think of all of this? Here is this jumbo jet with a space ship attacked to its back flying just a few hundred feet over his park! In my mind I could just see Walt on the roof of his Main Street Apartment waving as the Endeavour went past and standing long after it left watching it go. Walt would have been proud his park was part of this historic event.

The Endeavour over Disneyland Resort

I’ve heard some people say, “What is the big fuss? We don’t need to go into space we need to give that money to those that don’t have any.” Well I think differently. I believe that Walt Disney was right when he said, “Tomorrow will be a better day as long as American keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.”

What use is space travel? Well look at how we have benefited from the past 50 years or so of space exploration. Health care took giant steps along with Neil Armstrong. From new medications to remote technology to check a patient’s condition things took a quantum leap in development. Food preservation, storage and cooking changed. Remember, Tang the drink of Astronauts.

When the Space Race was at its peak so was education and the youth of America, and the world had a goal to strive for. Many kids of the 60s-80s wanted to be an Astronaut or help design the next space ship. Not only did the space program benefit from this so did our industry. Those that could not make it into NASA and its rarefied air could find jobs at JPL, Hughes, Boeing or Locked/Martian. If not the Space Program many went into other science fields helping to work on better power, cleaner water and better growing crops.

I’m saddened that the shuttles are no longer flying into space. Yes, their time is done and the entire fleet needed to be retired. 30 years of service is a long time and they are now a danger to those they were designed to protect. Still, to stop the program with nothing in place to take over is wrong. Depending on Russia and China do take our brave men and women into space seems wrong somehow. America use to be proud to lead the way now we take the back seat but pay the majority of the cost. I hope that seeing the Endeavour fly over California will encourage the next generation to stand up and take the lead again. 

Dreams are what keep us going, reaching, striving and trying to grow. Things like the shuttle and the space program give us dreams and goals to reach for. Encourage them don’t allow them to be taken away.

Check out this video of the fly over done by the Disney Parks Blog.

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