Tuesday, May 19, 2009
John Grunsfel and Drew Feustel completed the last of the Hubble repairs/upgrades yesterday. Today, at roughly 8:30 am, the Atlantis crew put that baby back into space. Technicians from the Goddard Space Flight Center had made special tools to be used in the repairs/upgrades. Those tools will probably soon be adapted into new Gator Grips or other "only-on-television" tool offers that will make gardening/cooking/home repair/ ice cream sundae making easier. This is why we need the space program; not because it gives us a sense of accomplishment, though it surely does; and not because it shows us that we are a small speck in the universe, though it does that, too.
We need the space program because it gives us a small picture of the possible.
And it offers the best and the brightest among us a place to make a difference. Even those who are nameless and faceless but whose intelligence and common sense make it possible for those of us without a whole lot of either to feel some pride in their work. The astronauts are the ones who risk their lives every time they go into space. But it's the people on the ground, who will never sell their autobiographies and never have a street named after them, who do the heavy lifting.
This blog reflects our devotion to Garrett Reisman, The Coolest Man In The Universe, and all the astronauts who have gone before and come after him. But today, at 8:30 am, I was thinking about those people, sitting in mission control and at the Telescope Center in Greenbelt, Md., and saying a silent "Thank You." Because without them, we wouldn't have any astronauts to idolize.