Friday, July 8, 2011 marked the end of the US Space Shuttle Mission. The U.S. Space Shuttle project has a long history over 40 years since the seminal declaration to send the man to the moon within the decade, made by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. I personally have been intrigued by the Space Shuttle program, as one of my childhood dreams was to become an astronaut, well reflected with my visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with friends. I am privileged to meet with and work with Mamoru Mohri, now president of the Miraikan, one of the Japanese astronauts. I also recall many lives lost during the program including those who were on board Challenger.
The end of the U.S. Space Shuttle Mission makes me reflect how daring the original vision by JFK was, how much effort must have been made to make the vision realized by many people and with many dollars, and how much of discoveries and innovation must have been made through the program. I am sure that those closely involved with the project must feel that one era is over.
As in many memorable events like this one, special programs have been planned and many people are in Florida, waiting for the launch. In fact, I wish I were there to watch! I watch with great interest the interview with John Glenn, the first astronaut and the ex-Senator, among others.
As I reflect the history of Space Shuttle program, I cannot but help thinking how different our world is in 2011, in terms of technology and geopolitical scene, just to name a few. It makes me wonder how we deal with the fundamental changes and transformations taking place in the world. Constant challenge to explore the unknown is a spirit we should all keep.