Orion…

After Three Years, The First Step Towards A Return… After the Break…

Orion…

July 8, 2011. The last time that a space shuttle was launched. The last time that a space shuttle would ever be launched.

Today didn’t mark a return to manned space flight. There’s still several steps to go.

Today did mark, though, the first step to manned space flight. And it was an important step. And it was a successful one.

The space program transcends politics. It has to; The development, testing and implementation of any space program spans years and decades, not weeks or months. George W. Bush started the process; Barack Obama has seen the first unmanned flight and the next president will see the first manned flight. The space shuttle program spanned eight presidential administrations; The International Space Station has presently spanned three and will likely span at least one more and perhaps two; The Orion program has currently spanned two… And it hasn’t yet flown a single manned mission.

Orion still has a very long way to go… But, today, marked the first big step towards the rest of it’s journey. And it was awesome. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to see it all… And I hope that you will, too.

I miss the space shuttle. It was, and still is, iconic. For an entire generation, it was the space program.

Orion, though, will be the space program for the next generation. And, hopefully, it will be just – And even more so – Iconic.

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