Touchdown Without a Dance

Forty two years and one day after the first moon landing, the Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time this morning, marking the end of the Space Shuttle Program. The twin sonic booms were heard at Kennedy Space Center at 05:53:33 AM EDT, touchdown happened at few minutes later at 05:57:27 AM EDT, and less than a minute later, at 05:58:23 AM EDT, the shuttle rolled to a full stop.

Credit: Nasa

You care because it give you something to talk about around the water cooler later today. I care because this marks the end of an era when it wasn’t only okay, but we were expected to have hopes and dreams. No one’s going to tell little Billy that he can be an astronaut when he grows up, because that would be silly and unpatriotic.

That’s probably why they scheduled this final landing so early in the morning: it’s kind of embarrassing and they didn’t need people gathering around the tube to watch it like some kind of milestone or moon landing.

After all, the Shuttle Program was just part of a race we won a long time ago, and it was kind of silly and vain to keep it up for so much longer. The Cold War has been over for a long time now, and there are new wars to fight, wars that aren’t going to be won by space walks and moon landings, but by things like body scanners and security conferences. And if little Billy works hard, and is luck, maybe he can be a TSA agent when he grows up.