I woke up early this morning to finish the final touches on a presentation I am giving at work today, and I got to hear the last sonic boom from a returning Space Shuttle.
I remember hearing lots of sonic booms when I was younger; the Space Shuttle program began when I was in first grade (the first launch was on April 12, 1981, but no, I do not remember anything about it), and they would sometimes land at Edwards Air Force Base in California, close enough for us to hear the sonic boom when a shuttle entered the atmosphere. But because we didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the Space Shuttle Program back then, we would often mistake the sonic boom for the onset of an earthquake, and all of us would immediately drop under our desks, our heads facing away from the windows, bracing for an earthquake.
It’s kind of a funny memory, now that I reflect upon it.
Today marks the last return of a Space Shuttle; after 30 years, the program has been retired. I’m glad I was awake to witness its final landing. I vividly recall sitting in my sixth grade Social Studies class when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in January of 1986 not long after lift off. I remember watching TV and witnessing the Space Shuttle Columbia fall apart as it entered the atmosphere on my dad’s birthday in 2003. So I’m glad I got to hear the Space Shuttle Atlantis come home and mark the end of this 30-year program.
The Boy did not hear the sonic boom this morning. In fact, he more than just slept through it. When I tried to rouse him to get up and get dressed, he admonished me: “Mom! I’m still sleepy! Leave me alone!”
Ah, well. Welcome home, Atlantis. Good night, Space Shuttle Program. Thanks for all the work you’ve done over the last 30 years!