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Monday, June 11, 2007

Spacewalk On The Station

This is a subject that really does not get much buzz these days since it's more or less routine unless there's a disaster of some type. Isn't that sad? Today, there will be a spacewalk on the international space station now that Atlantis and it's crew have made it.

When I was a whole lot younger, I recall being really excited over the idea of someone actually entering space, a place "no man has gone before". Yes, I am a trekkie. We did not get to see the first man in space because he was Russian and they were so secretive that we only knew about it afterwards. Yuri Gagarin beat our first man in space by 23 days.

But we were looking forward to the first American in space, Alan Shepard. On May 5th, 1961 he was sent into space on a Redstone rocket for a 15 minute flight that sent him into history. My friends and I couldn't wait to see the television coverage on it. (We were in school at the time.) It took hours for the actual space flight. The recovery of the astronaut was also as exciting because you had to be sure he survived the experience for yourself. On a side note, Alan Shepard also walked on the Moon. He died in 1998. Those were exciting times.

And now, we have an international space station orbiting earth. Astronauts James Reilly and Danny Olivas are taking that walk today in order to connect a new, 35,000-pound segment to the space station. They will be removing restraints and bolts that are holding a solar array in place so that this part of the segment can be unfurled later in the mission. Those on the station will have an additional 14 kilowatts of power-generating capability added to the station when the solar array is operational. It will be a huge energy boost since one 100 watt bulb burning for 10 hours uses 1 kilowatt hour.

What is so sad is that despite the fact that this mission is ongoing, there is little coverage of it since it isn't as newsworthy as many other happenings. We used to love the endless coverage of the space shots because they were history making events. Somewhere around the time of the Apollo 13 flight, interest faded and they were not given coverage even when there was immediate danger to the astronauts. And now, our family was able to watch the shuttle launch only because we have cable tv and happened to tune into a news network that was showing the launch. There were many others that had "better" things to talk about.

Posted by From Arkansas at 11:45 AM
Permalink: http://offthecuff.lurasbookcase.com/archives/2007/06/entry_222.php
Categories: My Take on Things

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