If you didn’t know better, you’d think space was just darkness. It isn’t.
The Space Transportation System, better known as the Space Shuttle, was the most complicated machine ever constructed when first built. The first reusable spacecraft, it pushed the boundaries of American science and engineering just to get it put together. To fly required a make up wholly unknown to almost all who inhabit this place.
As a child of both the 80’s and of science and science fiction, there were no more important names to me in my early years than Enterprise, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. As spacecraft, these six sisters were the stuff of legend, carrying explorers to the very edge of human knowledge. Those who rode within them were heroes.
It was impossible to spend a school year inside of a science classroom as an elementary school student at that time and not know who Sally Ride was. As the first American woman in space her place in our history was assured, but to a small boy in the suburbs that big social impact stuff seemed to fly over my head. She was in space and that was good enough for me. Sally Ride, Awesome American.
So I was sad when I heard of her passing this week. You are never quite ready for your heroes to go.