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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Space shuttles’ final resting places disputable

 
Think back to the days when you first began school. I’m talking about way back when the teacher wasted no time before asking that famous question. Of course, the question that I’m referring to, of course, is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
There were always the same answers: ballerina, firefighter, police officer and astronaut. When I was really young, my answer was usually police officer, but I only said that to fit with what everyone else was saying. It wasn’t until later in my life that I started thinking about a career as an astronaut.
Before I go any further, I’ll mention I am no longer considering this as a career, but I did for a while. In fourth grade, our quest class had its annual trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. The trip was scheduled to follow our space unit in the class. With all this learning before the trip, I became a space enthusiast (an astro-nut, if you will).
One of the most fascinating things about space, astronauts and NASA to me was the space shuttle. I loved to learn about the structures and functions of all the different aspects of the shuttle. The external fuel tank, the solid rocket boosters and the orbiter separate were incredible, but there was no sight as beautiful as the whole shuttle put together.
All of these memories came rushing back to me as I read a few days ago there are only two rocket launches remaining for the current space shuttle.
The space vehicle that has been used my whole life will soon be retired. The fact that the space shuttle will soon be no more is kind of sad to me.
In an article, I read the man who announced the “final resting places” for each of the remaining shuttles had tears in his eyes as he made the announcement, so I don’t feel as pathetic.
In determining where the four remaining shuttles should be placed, a couple of places seem like obvious destinations. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Johnson Space Center in Texas are no-brainers. However, NASA only half agreed; Space Shuttle Atlantis will remain at Kennedy Space Center. Contrary to my assumptions, Johnson Space Center will not be home to any of the remaining shuttles.
I might be thinking too vaguely by saying Johnson Space Center should be the home of a shuttle, but it just seems right to me. I mean, who has ever gone through life without quoting the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem.”
United States Senator John Cornyn of Texas has a problem with this decision. He was quoted for saying, “Houston has played a critical role throughout the life of the space shuttle, but it is clear political favors trumped common sense and fairness in the selection of the final locations for the orbiter fleet.”
I believe Houston deserves an orbiter more than California, Virginia or New York.
Even though the idea of a world without space shuttles might seem weird to me, I guess we can’t stop looking forward.
NASA will develop a new rocket for space exploration and, as history proves, the new vehicle will help to advance our knowledge of space and allow us to venture farther into space, just as the shuttle did.
Plans for the future of space exploration are already in the works. NASA plans to land a person on the moon sometime after the year 2030. To do this, missions during which people will live on the moon for a few months at a time to prepare them for this will take place.
The future of space exploration is a fascinating subject, but the past will never be forgotten. Just as the Apollo missions are still remembered and honored, so will the space shuttle missions.
Jay Ballard is a freshman majoring in chemistry. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Space shuttles’ final resting places disputable