I spent 15 years on the Shuttle Program, I developed the Operational processes and systems that built & tracked the Tiles. A good chunk of my life was dedicated to building & testing all the Orbiters at Palmdale, CA & Kennedy Space Center, FL. Those years were a gift I will always remember.
While I’m sad to see the program end, it had more than run its course. The 25 year program life cycle has come and gone, it was stretched beyond reasonable expectations and every launch carried increasing risk for a 3rd disaster, which brings me to the purpose of this post.
The last Challenger and Columbia missions, the loss of life and crushing grief that followed is with me today and I will take it to my grave. These events changed my life abruptly and forever. They forced me to come to grips with the realization that life, as I know it, is a gift we all share now. It can’t be banked or passed on, it’s only happening now and how we all arrived at this moment is less important than the fact that we are all here now. I would think I could have concluded that some other way, but that’s not the case.
So, as one chapter closes out, the next one begins and the memories take their place in history as souvenir reminders of what I’ve come to value in what I am today.