Houston We Have A Problem….


the famous phrase used to depict a problem in NASA’s space program. I was so busy today I didnt have time to hear the news or watch it so when I had some free time I read that Houston was passed up to receive a NASA Space Shuttle. This in many ways angers me. Being from Houston Texas I believe that the people of Houston deserved to have one of these pieces of American history. Johnson Space Center located in Houston is where all of the shuttle missions have been commanded. They lauched in Florida but everything was ran in Houston. Well I should say still is since there is one flight left.

I think the City of Houston was passed up for many reasons. One being the construction. Houston has a never-ending array of construction on roads. This has been going on for years. I was in high school when some of these projects began and yet today as a 35 year old man these projects are still ongoing. Makes it hard for travelers to go to the city and enjoy the day. Also, Houston is not considered a tourist attraction city. Considering the State of Texas and Houston being the largest city in the state, one would expect it to have numerous attractions. Sadly, Houston does not. Once the home of Astroworld, an amusement park with rides and such. Now that area is vacant. Supposedly sold to be made into more condominiums and apartments catering to the rich doctors and such that work in the medical district of the city. Houston has a large stadium called Reliant. This of course is by far no tourist attraction. Although many events take place there and the shitty Houston Texans football team, if you can call them one, plays there there is nothing special about this venue. The only real attractions Houston has to offer is The musuems. Again, nothing fancy and yet parking for the museum and the adjacent zoo is quite difficult and far too few spots to park.

Most people that are not from Houston won’t really have much to say on this issue but the people of Houston in part and the employees of NASA at JSC are disappointed that no Orbiter will make its final home in the most humid city in America! Well, i think it is! HA HA! Many argue about Los Angeles getting one and then New York. Well, I really can’t say much for New York but Los Angeles does have ties to the shuttle. In fact, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is based in the Los Angeles area. Engineers that design and work on the functions of shuttle components and such work there. So its not really too much of a shock that California would be a home to Endeavour.

We look at the east coast of the United States and we see that three Orbiters will make their home there. One in New York, another in the Smithsonian and…….at Kennedy Space Center. This is where I have mixed thoughts as well. First, I understand that the Space Shuttle launched from Kennedy. The Assembly Building is also there where the Shuttle was put together and prepared for space flight. Everything from the SRBs to the External Tank. Since beginning of space exploration with the Shuttle Kennedy has been then primary and only location for the Shuttle. Houston taking control of flight functions and Telemetry. Sorry if I am confusing you with these terms but I have studied the Space Shuttle in-depth and know quite a bit about its basic functions. Kennedy would be a shoe in to get an Orbiter as many would say but if you think about it, it seems a bit selfish that Kennedy Space Center would keep a Shuttle there rather than in the location where it all begins. Houston is where astronauts train. Those entering the training program leaving their homes across the country and the world to go to Houston to train and learn the functions of zero gravity and space flight. I enjoy watching the NASA channel. Its so informative. So when I heard the news that Houston was passed up for a Shuttle it really pissed me off. Many say that it would be a fitting memorial to those that died in the Challenger explosion and the disintegration of Columbia but Houston does have a place called Challenger Park which is a memorial to those astronauts that lost their lives. Still though, many would argue that that is not enough. I can agree and disagree with this.

Many will have mixed emotions on this. As I sit here in my bus and watch the news I hear people speaking about the Shuttles as if they don’t really give a damn. Others that say their cities should not have received an Orbiter. Ive read the news from ABC 13 in Houston on their website and I can see why the people of Houston are upset. The history of the Space Program is Houston. Houston is Space City. Just look at Houston. Besides the soccer and football teams, professional sports teams in Houston are named after space affiliations. The Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Houston Aeros….etc! In fact the Eighth Wonder of the World which now sits vacant but was once the iconic median for Houston is also named similarly. The Houston Astrodome was the home of the Houston Astros and former Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans). It also was the home of the yearly Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. One of the largest rodeo events in the world! So with that said, it is quite easily seen why many residents of Houston are upset over this issue. The sad truth to this all is that the decision is final. Even the most bickering and petitioning of this will not bring a Shuttle to the City of Houston but one thing the people of Houston can take pride in is that Houston is where the Space Program operated. Without Command Center Houston there would not have been a Space Program to begin with. That is something that NO ONE even the United States Government and all the shitty politics can take away from Houstonians. Houston, yes there may be a problem but just remember, the talented individuals that command our space exploration and flights train in Houston and many even live there now. That’s something to be proud of no matter how you look at it because honestly, your Houston Texans will NOT be a super bowl team and nor will the Astros be winning a World Series title anytime soon!!

So rather than bitch and be upset about the Space Shuttle, do something positive and support the Houston Aeros Hockey Team in the AHL Playoffs!!! Kick some ass guys and beat the Indiana Rivermen!!!

I want to leave you with one of my favorite pictures. Photo Courtesy of NASA

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