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Witnessing History In The Making

2011 July 21

By Lina Younes

Just recently, I had the opportunity to witness a historic event, the launch of the final space shuttle mission Atlantis, STS-135. My husband, my youngest daughter and I traveled to Florida to participate in several launch activities tied to the shuttle’s final voyage. We visited the Shuttle Landing Facility, Vehicle Assembly Building, the Orbiter Processing Facility, the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the Launch Pad, and spoke with an astronaut and many individuals who had been working at the Kennedy Space Center since the beginning of the shuttle program. In spite of some weather challenges, Atlantis was able to launch on July 8th as planned. It landed safely on July 21st nearly 42 years to the day when astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon.

Prior to the launch, I was excitedly giving the history of the space program to my youngest in an effort for her to capture the significance of the event. As a person who actually remembers watching the first lunar landing on TV, I’ve always been in awe of space exploration. However, I quickly noticed that my daughter didn’t seem to share my excitement. She didn’t verbalize exactly it, but in spite of my explanations, she was looking at me like, “Ok…so?” That made me realize how much we take space exploration and related technologies for granted.

During the thirty years of the shuttle program, Atlantis and the other three NASA space orbiters conducted numerous experiments in space. They helped assemble and supply the International Space Station, serviced the Hubble Space Telescope, launched and serviced satellites, including many that help us gain a better understanding of our Planet Earth and our terrestrial environment. Many people do not realize that space exploration actually has an impact on our daily life and has led to green-related spinoffs technologies developed by NASA research.

As we move to a new era in space exploration, I sincerely hope that our youth will become excited about earth and space sciences so they will help protect our world, here and beyond.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

14 Responses leave one →
  1. Ramon Gonzalez permalink
    July 21, 2011

    Very nice!!

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    July 21, 2011

    Congratulations NASA… : Come On EPA… !.-

    Planets like Us, alive. Look eruption of the mountains, tsunami, fire screen, tornado and the other of wave of planet enthusiasms. It’s natural and not choose anything. We must against its by our characteristic, systematical network. Rage versus calm!. NASA explore universe and EPA just the earth. And so, could EPA abilities discovers some ecosystems for implement for another planets by NASA ?

  3. Data Entry permalink
    July 22, 2011

    It enlarge my knowledge on the point!Thank You for the post. I love to read interesting post that has knowledge to impart. I hope to read more articles from you

  4. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    July 23, 2011

    Space exploration is moving forward with unmanned probes to Jupiter and Mars and more to the Moon. I don’t think we have any ideas yet for what comes next for manned space flight but there is alot going on with unmanned flight.
    I remember the first manned landing on the Moon . It was the big thing for everyone. We were on my uncle’s farm in Parke County Indiana, and stayed up until after midnight or 1:00AM to see the Moon walk. It was great. Surprising how clear the pictures and voices were from the Moon. Its hard to believe that the cell phones we have today have more memory power in them than the whole NASA Mission Control Center had at the time of the first Moon Landing. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  5. sylviawells permalink
    August 5, 2011

    Hello Lina…
    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

  6. south dakota dentist permalink
    August 10, 2011

    Congratulation ! Lina Younes you got opportunity to witness a historic event.I had such a great time reading your article. I enjoy each & every bit of it. It was really informative.Keep it up..!!!

  7. Furnace Service Parker co permalink
    August 11, 2011

    Hi Lina.
    You got opportunity to witness a historic event. You really lucky.
    I read total post what you write. I read your previous post also.
    When i click on middle link then i got a great information. So thanks for these awesome information.

  8. wedding photography permalink
    August 12, 2011

    Hello, Lina I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in publishing this article.I enjoy each & every bit of it. It was really informative.

  9. Jenny permalink
    August 30, 2011

    I was disappointed when I first heard that the shuttle program was ending. It would’ve been awesome to experience it in-person. I have heard (no pun intended) that the sound of the launch is incredible! Glad you got the opportunity to witness this final event. I own a wedding slideshow business where I shoot lots of photos and videos and this would’ve been a great opportunity to get shots of the launch as well as the people’s reactions to the launch. Hopefully the shuttle program will re-emerge again sometime in our lifetime.

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    December 9, 2011

    Thank you for this post. You most definitely have made this blog into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases.

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    March 29, 2012

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