The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-120 crew head toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A occurred at 11:38:19 a.m. (EDT). Onboard are astronauts Pam Melroy, commander; George Zamka, pilot; Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, European Space Agency's (ESA) Paolo Nespoli and Daniel Tani, all mission specialists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interesting conversation with my uncle Pablo (yes, that’s his real name) a few weeks ago.
It was right after the Space Shuttle was flown on the back of a 747 to Washington, DC area to be parked at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum.
He was lamenting the fact that America was once known as the pre-eminent explorer in space and now, if we want to send an astronaut to space, we have to rent space on a Russian vehicle.
He viewed this as a serious setback in America’s stature in the world.
My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t phased by this change of priorities and said, “hey, we can still explore space, but it’s a lot cheaper and safer if we have robots do it.”