pic: Discovery Bon Voyage

The orbiter Discovery left the Kennedy Space Center at sunrise, making a spectacular flyover at Cocoa Beach. Friends in DC, Take good care of her. This is the greatest vehicle ever to fly; This was an inspiring and sorrowful sight.

I have uploaded many more of my pictures on the Exploding Bacon forum

I know we don’t discuss political matters here on Chief Delphi, but it has to be said.

The politicians and beareaucrats who have defunded our space program should be run out of the country.

I grew up watching the space shuttles and wanting to be an astronaut. It brings a tear to the eye to watch them fly their last flight.

great pic.

The destruction of our nation’s greatest tool for STEM inspiration repulses me too Tom. These shuttles represent an insignificant amount of money compared to the impact they have had on numerous generations of people.

That money is going to fund the development of the as yet undesigned SLS (Space Launch System) and to fund COTS (SpaceX and Orbital Sciences ISS resupply, both of which could be potentially human rated). Instead of paying to maintain the shuttle, it is going to engineers to build the next generation of space vehicle. There are certainly issues, there always are, but we aren’t quite going to heck in a handbasket yet.

The DC-3 was a great commercial airplane in it’s day… but 30 years later the 747-100 was a heck of a lot better.

“That belongs in a museum!” -Indiana Jones

I gave my thoughts on the topic during the Orlando Regional.

There are many sides of the argument on should we have continued with the shuttle program, or invest in the commercial space program, or develop technology to go to Mars and astroids. My question: Why are these mutually exclusive?

Economics tells us if the marginal benefits outweigh the marginal costs, the participate in the activity.

Financial classes teach if the Net Present Value is greater than 1, invest in the activity.

I challenge anyone to find something else to invest in that creates more spinoff technologies which generate more revenue, saves lives, and creates business that hire more people. What other program has the ability to inspire tens of thousands each year to undertake career paths in science and technology?

I agree there are still fantastic things to come, and commerical space history is being written each month. It is very unfortunate, however, to leave a gap in human space exploration. It is more important now than ever that FIRST inspires students

Many financial classes also teach that, in black and red with all other assumptions held equal, the investor can’t already be over-leveraged into crushing debt before the investment returns the value. This is an objective anecdote from my degree, not my opinion.

That aside, I’ve already enlightened several coworkers on the significance of NASA’s contributions to the private sector as a whole. Irrespective of one’s philosophy on ‘human sustainability’, NASA’s lifetime ROI is ridiculously net-positive when one considers the derivative works from technologies driven by NASA’s exploration objectives. The murkiness for the Congressional budget line-items comes from the fact that it’s difficult to directly associate higher-derivative works to the specific budget items NASA wants. So Congress has to be convinced.

All of that aside…

Personally I’m still ecstatic about the James Webb telescope and it’s ability to use super conductors due to the cryogenic nature of the whole setup. Who wants to see back in time? <----- this guy :smiley:

While I fully agree with you, if I were to make a list of the top 10 things that caused that nation to have over-leveraged crushing debt, the space program would not be one of them.

I too fully support the James-Webb telescope, we have got to get it operational! Telescope that spans the size of a tennis-court capable of seeing back to the earliest moments of the universe? Yes Please.

Great picture! Cant wait to take pictures of my own. I live in Florida and have never been at a real shuttle launch or any launch period. I heard one coming back when I first moved to Florida, I saw one just going into space in Lake Buena Vista of this year, and thats about it. I know LAME. I went to the KSC for the first time in January as well. I hope to go back and visit there again!

My dream is to be an astronaut someday, it may not be until 10 years from now, but I am definitely going to be one of those engineers that travels to find a place that we can possibly live on. (Please, lets not repeat Alien or Aliens, those movies cause Nightmares!!) We need to explore space and I think people should still go up there! I am going to strive for that future! :slight_smile:

Barry, great picture! It is neat to see the start of her voyage yesterday and I have a lot of respect for the space coast. Don’t worry, we will take good care of Discovery in DC. I hope lots of people will be able to visit the Smithsonian and become inspired (my favorite letter of FIRST is the “i”).

I work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and attribute getting my job to FIRST. I was able to take some pictures of Discovery flying over the National Mall in DC and they are posted on the NASA Flickr site:

My favorite is below:

Everyone needs to watch this:

We Stopped Dreaming…

I believe that we really need to dream, to be bold, and to invest in science and technology as a country. To find areas where we want to lead the world and make bold commitments. But the sad fact is that the shuttle probably was not the right platform for us to rally behind.

The space shuttle unfortunately never delivered on the original promise to make space travel fast, cheap, safe, and easy. It did have a large payload capacity, but the rest of its mission objectives could could probably have been better served by some less complex and more traditional launch vehicles. In the end it turned out to be a very complex, expensive, and dangerous way to perform many of its missions.

In any case, the program is over now, and very little value can come from condemning a decision that can no longer be changed. If we want to see a program that inspires and supports STEMS, than perhaps we might want to consider what new project or program that we might want to see our government get behind. What new areas are there that might inspire the next generation of STEMS students?

I personally would love to see our country invest in technology. To strive and dare to lead on some important new technology frontier. Perhaps even one that has more short term value. We are currently facing monumental environmental challenges at the same time we are hitting a world population that has started to over run many of our resources. Climate change and environmental damage is threatening the very future of the students we are trying to inspire. But we are not doing much to address these very urgent and important needs in areas where science and technology might offer some hope.

Perhaps we should take this opportunity to find a new focus for STEMS inspiration, and I cannot think of a better one that clean renewable energy. I grew up in the space age, and space programs really inspired me. But many young people today do not seem to have the same level of interest in space as I did. If the FIRST community wants a inspire this generation it would be much easier to promote technology that addresses areas where they are already engaged, and programs that have an environmental focus seem to have more resonance with today’s youth.

Just my opinion.

I honestly had a fit when Obama made that speech :mad: what an IDIOT. Sorry, the goverment angers me. I hope the next president will bring back to funding of the space program.

This is exactly the kind of thing that is discussed by Cultural Anthropologists looking at the current education system and its effects on the U.S. and world at large.

It seems that every generation was almost “bred” or rather shaped by the education system to put special emphasis on one issue or area. I can’t remember the name of any specific article right now, but many have concluded that the current college through high school students have been/are being “bred” to look at alternative energies and climate change, and thus will naturally be more attracted to these types of jobs in the future. While the current elementary school and younger kids will be looking at dietary and food issues.

As for those who advocate for an emphasis on space, you too were probably “bred” to put emphasis on the exploration of space. It is no surprise that you want to see more emphasis put on that topic today. However, realizing that other topics strike more of a cord with your students could potentially boost their inspiration to pursue STEM and space exploration as an off shoot. While this probably won’t affect 99% of what you as a mentor do. The concept could help you understand how to approach the issue of inspiration, and close the generation gap for those born in a very different geopolitical climate.

Understanding how someone thinks can be one of the most useful tools when determining how to inspire.

BTW the you in the statement is because I am not a mentor (or a student), and is meant to be directed at all mentors not just the ones who have posted thus far.