Where were you 30 years ago? I remember 30 years ago in the playgrounds in Hualien, Taiwan talking to my friends about the space shuttle launch in the USA. It was an amazing time, I wanted to be an astronaut. My hero at the time was Dr. Taylor Wang (王贛駿), the first ethnic Chinese person to go into space. I wanted to be an astronaut just like him. When I was in junior high, I attended Space Academy, an advanced version of Space Camp where you learn about the space program and the Shuttle process. Back then, I was excited about space, I was a big big fan of NASA, I want to be part of NASA. But as time moved on, I moved away from my dreams of becoming an astronaut, I wanted to be an engineer instead, at first an aerospace engineer, so I can still work with NASA and develop space crafts, but eventually I realized that I liked computers and electronics and became an electrical engineer.
Today, as I listened to the final launch of the Space Shuttle, and in my mind I was going over every little steps I learned during Space Academy about the shuttle launch, I felt very sad. I don’t know why I was sad, maybe because the vision of the space traveling future of my childhood did not come true, or maybe it is because all of the sudden I realized that, we, as Americans, are back to the early 1960’s level of getting into space and everything in between 1980 until now was just a big hype, and now that is all over? Please do not get me wrong, I think very very highly of the shuttle program. The program brought us excitement, hope, and sadness. We should also never forget the 2 shuttle teams that lost their life as part of this program, and all the lessons that was learned because of these tragedies. But even with all that, I am still sadden by the fact that one of my childhood icon is now ending and soon to be retired.
I sometimes think, this must have been how people felt during the time between the Apollo program and the Shuttle program.
But the good news is … I believe that NASA will be back !!!