Perseverance, determination, opportunity, creative thinking and follow your passion. These are some of the things I’m taking away from my two-day experience of the NASA Tweetup at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. (April 28 & 29). My dream of finally seeing a space shuttle launch didn’t happen yesterday and I’m not sure if it will. Launch of space shuttle Endeavour has been delayed at least 72 hours.
Going into the Tweetup, I was cautiously optimistic the launch would happen when scheduled. This is because I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment in case the launch was delayed because chances are slim I’d be able to return to see the rescheduled launch. As NASA officials and staff spoke to us during the NASA Tweetup, an energizing buzz began to build in the air and I became more confident a launch would happen today.
When I Had That Feeling it Was Scrubbed
It was when the Astro Van (the vehicle carrying the astronauts to the space shuttle) returned from where it came my stomach sunk. There was confusion because the van, which is an Airstream and something the Brady Bunch would have driven back in the day, pulled into the VAB, departed and didn’t head toward the launch pad but back from where it came. At first there were jokes something was forgotten or an astronaut got cold feet causing the van to turn around. Thanks to technology, news of a scrub quickly reached us.
Yes, I now believe the universe has been conspiring against me since the space shuttle’s inception to prevent me from seeing a launch. And yes, at first I was disappointed. (No, I didn’t cry.)
“Space is Hard”
“Space is hard,” our NASA Tweetup coordinators told us once we received confirmation of the scrub.
Launching a space shuttle IS rocket science and in order for a successful liftoff, a number of factors need to be in place to make it happen and I don’t mean Mars in retrograde throwing a wrench into the technological equation. Safety comes first when propelling humans into space and today, all parts weren’t working properly to make it happen (one of two things are wrong, either the APU heater thermometer or Load Control Assembly – please don’t ask what these do because I’m not clear. Just know they’re important enough that they need to function for successful shuttle launch.)
Embracing the Silver Lining
Rather than be bummed, I remembered everything I had experienced over the past two days including soaking in the enthusiasm and passion NASA personnel exuded. People at NASA seem to really enjoy their jobs and it’s evident the space program is integrated in their lives. The astronauts were inspiring, especially when they shared the experiences of following their dreams. Perseverance and determination drove them to become astronauts when others told them it wasn’t possible.
Yesterday, Leland Melvin (@Astro_Flow) said a taxi driver delivering him to the Kennedy Space Center told him he couldn’t be an astronaut because he wasn’t in the military. Ha! Imagine what we could accomplish if we didn’t listen to those who chipped away at our ideas with discouragement and fed off the energy from those who embrace and build us up.
Plus, I’ve met some intriguing and fabulous people during the NASA Tweetup and have shared inspiring dialogue and hearty laughs. Chances are, without the Tweetup, there’s a slim to none chance my paths with these folks would have ever crossed and for having met them, my life is a little better from learning from each of them.
There’s so much more to share about the experience and hopefully I’ll be posting about my experience of a space shuttle launch very soon.