Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Gift From the Astronauts - Part One

With the recent passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong, many people have asked what I thought about it, having spent so much of my life in the shadow of NASA’s space program. I have been on this planet long enough to have experienced the thrill of watching the program grow and change—from hearing the tinny voice of John Glenn as he orbited the earth to watching the first steps of Neil Armstrong on the moon, seeing the first launch of a space shuttle, and so much more.

When I first married, right after graduation from college with a degree in engineering, I received some mail from NASA. They were looking for candidates for the shuttle program—for "shuttle specialists." Wow! I had always dreamed of space travel and star-watching from above the earth! However, I was newly married and moving in a different direction with my life, and I was happy to be where I was. But the fascination with space and space travel was never far from my mind.

Years later, we began homeschooling, and we were blessed to be living on the Space Coast of Florida, just south of Cape Canaveral. One of the first unit studies that I wrote for our crew was Space; I figured that even if I really messed up, NASA was right up the road and they could fill in the blanks!

We spent ten years there and loved every launch and every moment of space news and space talk. The kids grew up thinking that the swing set was MADE for watching space shuttle launches, and that everyone in the world watched launches with the same enthusiasm and excitement. Whenever we could, we would get launch passes to go wait with the crowds for the launches, bringing blankets and picnic baskets and binoculars.

Amanda B.

 Come back tomorrow for Part Two!



  1. I have a 15 yo astronaut wannabe. Your former backyard would be his dream. We did visit NASA when he was 5 and plan to go back next year. This summer he went to Space Camp in Huntsville AL and my reluctant learner is now so on fire I can't stop him or shuthim up! We went to DC when the Discovery was flown in and installed at the Air and Space museum and my husband shook ajohn Glen's hand....such heros!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that with us - those are experiences your family will never forget! Loved hearing about how excited your son is about learning after going to Space Camp!


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