Written by K.C. Bell
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Topics: Space, Flying

Thursday, 11 August 2005

image for Houston, No Problem
"Leave the light on in the window."

That was some flying. Two week road trip, 219 laps around the planet, six passengers in the back seat, drop off 15 tons of supplies at the International Space Station, three space walks, patch a flat, clean the windshield, check the water and oil, and by the way, last minute instructions: stay an extra day, don't park it in the garage, land it on the other coast, do it in the dark.

Houston, no problem.

Is there anyone else who accomplished such a feat in the last year? Indianapolis 500? Ring around the rosy. The Paris to Dakar race? Challenging, but no cigar. Lance Armstrong's Tour de France 7th win? Pretty good, but he slept in a bed every night, not a hammock tethered to his bicycle for three weeks, and he ate real French food. Probably even has a hot tub and a sauna. Sissy. Those tall guys who get paid millions to drop basketballs in hoops? Ho, ho, ho. Six weeks in Crawford, Texas? Never.

Worst news imaginable must have been learning that the entire space shuttle fleet would be grounded after the launch. Excuse me, but is it asking too much for the people at NASA's to improve their timing skills a wee bit? Like being a little more issue sensitive and make this type of announcement, say, after the space craft safely touches down? Back on earth? No one would want to be flying San Francisco to London and learn that the 747 fleet was grounded, particularly while in a 747. And how does this parachute work? Oh? It doesn't?

Similar to bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe and hearing someone yell from above as you're falling, "No more jumps. There some kinks in the line." Really? Thanks loads. You couldn't have mentioned this while jumper was still standing on the bridge?

So, Commander Ellen Collins, retired USAF, applied the brakes with a re-entry burn somewhere over Madagascar, made a left near the Indian ocean and brought that bird in for a perfect landing at Edwards Airforce Base in California. That was some car pooling. Top marks! High fives. Welcome home.

No problem.

This is the right stuff.

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