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Countdown to the last liftoff; the thrill of a Shuttle launch

By: Arianne Liepa
When I was 10 years old, my family took a trip to the NASA Space Center in Houston, TX. That day, I fell in love with space. From then on, space was woven into everything I did, from my education to my career to my travels. One trip took me to the Kennedy Space Center to watch a shuttle launch. On June 8, 2007, I was thrilled to watch the Space Shuttle Atlantis lift off, sending STS-117 on its mission to the ISS. It was amazing to see that giant of engineering sitting on the launch pad. The countdown was sheer anticipation leading up to the ignition sequence and liftoff! At liftoff, the sound was deafening. I felt the rumbling of the engines all the way to my core even though I was a few miles from the pad. And then that 4-million-pound giant, which had just been sitting on the launch pad, was zooming through the sky, leaving behind only a vapor trail.  Now, as the shuttle program comes to a close, I’m excited and hopeful for the next generation of space travel. So much is yet to be discovered about this universe.  Many countries, companies and even individuals are now looking to the skies to study everything from planets to stars to the black emptiness in between. I’m excited for the elementary students of today who will get the chance to create the technology that can take us even farther in our space exploration.
Posted: 6/29/2011 7:20:56 PM