Thank You, NASA

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology…high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare…

These are the lyrics to Rush’s “Countdown” from their Signals album. They were fortunate enough to attend the first shuttle launch in 1981.

I remember watching the first shuttle launch when I was a young kid. It still is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. Today marks the last launch in NASA’s space shuttle program. As I sit here typing this, my daughters are asleep. I think, anyway. Actually, they’re probably awake. I wouldn’t know … I’m sitting in my cube at work on a typical day off, but there’s too much to do before my project can be released. But I digress.

The shuttle is on track to take off in about 45 minutes. I’m torn between racing home so I can watch this with my girls as my mom watched with me back in April 1981. Racing is starting to win out. I can always come back to work.

Yah. Gotta run. Er … drive.

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