Posted by DrJeff on July 14th, 2011
Copyright 2011 | About this blog
Photocaption: Vehicle Asembly Building (VAB) during the final mission of the Space Shuttle program (STS-135). Â Photo by Eric S. Ackerman. CLICK FOR ZOOM
This past year has been a humbling experience for me, the staff of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education andÂ the thousands of students and teachers in the 27 communities participating in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).Â Enabled by a Space Act Agreement between NASA and NanoRacks, LLC, we’ve all had the adventure of a lifetime. We’ve had the distinct honor of beingÂ part of history, and part of the 30 year legacy of the United States Space Shuttle program. The Space Shuttle, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administrationâ€”both national treasuresâ€”stand for what is a fundamental regarding the nature of our existenceâ€”our need to know, to question, to push the boundaries of what is familiar, and to broaden our understanding of ourselves. Anyone witnessing the final Shuttle launch on July 8 at Kennedy Space Center (I was lucky enough) could not help but be overwhelmed by what we have done as a nation of spacefarers, and realize that the dawn of a new era is at hand. To all those that are participating in SSEP, you need to know that you are helping to blaze a trail into that new era, and there has been no bigger supporter of your achievements than NASA. With the 27 experiments aboard Endeavour and Atlantis, selected from over 1,000 student team proposals, you, the next generation, are the link between a celebrated past and a future in space exploration that is only now being written. And this remarkable journey we’ve been on together? It has really been about celebrating the past, embracing the present, and inspiring the future. Isn’t that what learning and exploration are all about?