On our way to Miami to visit my brother Michael and his wife Martine we stopped off at the Kennedy Space Center. As you have probably gathered from our posts on Spaceport America, Alamagordo and the White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces, we’re pretty firm believers in the future of space and that the next big frontier in terms of jobs, the economy and related industries lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren and their learning about all things space.
“For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace.”
Back in 1961 John F. Kennedy promised to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade and there was no shortage of non-believers when he made that promise. He didn’t live to see Neil Armstrong make those first steps on the lunar surface as we did, grainy images and scratchy voices sent back to earth for the world to see and marvel on television.
This was the beginning of a great stretch of mankind reaching for the stars, from the very beginning of the manned space missions with the original 7 aboard the Project Mercury capsules, the dual-manned capsules known as Gemini, the Apollo program with three astronauts that were the lunar missions to the shuttle program that explored space from the confines of the shuttle while building piece by piece the International Space Station.
The centerpiece of the Kennedy Space Center tour is the exhibit of the shuttle Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly a mission to space.
As you walk under a life size mock-up of the Atlantis perched on a flame orange external fuel tank and white solid rocket boosters, you can’t help but marvel at the engineering that has taken place in the last fifty or so years, the strides that we have taken to establish a window in space that will serve as a launch pad to other planets and galaxies.
The actual exhibit houses the real Atlantis Space shuttle that was moved to KSC after its final and NASA’s final mission in 2011. As you walk up the stairs to the overlook there are any number of inspiring quotes on the walls…
and where one gets to the actual exhibit one is struck by the size of the spacecraft and the enormity of the missions it carried out.
Active government involvement in the exploration of space was halted after the last shuttle mission in 2011, but the mission is being carried on by private concerns led by Elon Musk of Space X, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactica and Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame to name but a few. Musk has developed a reusable rocket booster that has successfully launched payloads into space to the International Space Station and returned to earth to be reused again. This will dramatically lower the costs of space travel and exploration as the cost of a rocket is significantly amortized over multiple uses. Space X currently uses the famed launchpad 39A at Cape Canaveral for its launches.
The history of the Space Shuttle program is full of the exploits, accomplishments, and sacrifices of a large number of men and women who brought civilization as we know it to the next frontier.
As our journey into space continues with a renewed commitment by NASA to the Orion spacecraft and a new heavy launch system called the SLS (Space Launch System) that will enable us to delve deeper into the outposts of space, we will continue to marvel and be awed by the imagination and perseverance of man’s quest for knowledge and exploration.
We love Thai food mainly because it has so many unique tastes and flavors. I’ve been making this recipe for years after being served it by my agent in Thailand’s wife at their home for lunch one day. I’ve made several adjustments to it…one is I do not use as many guinea peppers as it calls for even though I have quite a stout tolerance for things spicy, seven guinea peppers can lift a rocket into space. It calls for 2 tablespoons of Nam Pla which is pretty earthy, I use less than a tablespoon and you still get a pretty fishy aroma. I use any meat I have left over and I do not boil it, relying on the flavor from the way I cooked it originally. And finally I add some vegetable oil to it, not much, just to give it a little more of a dressing consistency. All personal and trust me, the original is awesome as well. Enjoy!