Rollover

NASA's PAO announced this week that the orbiter Atlantis will make the majestic move of a few yards from her hanger at the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building. This is normally an important mark in the launch cycle, as the VAB is where the orbiters are mated to "the stack"-- the solid rocket boosters and external tank that will fuel the space shuttle's ascent into orbit. It is a procedure known as "rollover." Atlantis, however, won't be getting down and dirty with any fuel tanks, external or otherwise. She'll be heading right back to her little house as soon as workers finish some renovation there. Celibacy, dear fleet, until we have our orbital house in order. There is talk that President Bush (the W one) will, at a December 17th speech on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight, back a return to the Moon-- this time to establish a permanent presence. I'm kind of tearing up just typing this, as I have always sorrowed over the cancellation of Apollo. We simply chucked mankind's greatest technological achievement just as we were really getting the hang of this whole escape velocity business. Politics brought us to the Moon, and politics brought us right back to Earth again. When I worked at the Kennedy Space Center, I always used to point out to visitors a poignant break in the piping that lines the road to the launch pads: It marks a point where Werner Von Braun planned to build yet another pad for a rocket he called the Nova, which was designed to take us to Mars. I don't think I have to tell you that the pad was never constructed. The gap just hangs there, overgrown, empty and waiting. How bittersweet it will be for my former co-workers to watch Atlantis ease out of her little house... only to wheel right back in again a few weeks later. And how glorious it will be when we once again nudge at the edge of that gravitational envelope.


December 5, 2003

Recent Posts

See All

What Lies Below

Thus begins the part of this blog which isn't The Thing Is. It will continue to grow as I reconstruct my typing past. The posts which follow are a pour-over of what I've written since I began creating

It Really Does Hold the World Together

What you need to do on the second date, ladies, is put your life in the gentleman’s hands, because all the awkwardness is so much easier to bear when trees and cows and people are rushing up at severa

1/15/77

In every possible sense of the world, I have done nothing to deserve my birthdays. They are no fault of my own. My mother's water broke twenty-seven years ago today, two weeks before my due date. Cinc

Mary Beth is an introvert.

She is eager to communicate but prefers doing so via email, a giant stage, or intense conversation about Important Things.

© 2023 by Train of Thoughts. Proudly created with Wix.com