Space Memories

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August 3, 2005 at 12:50 pm

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I’ve been doing some hard core geeking over this Space Shuttle mission (). I guess I’ve missed hearing much from NASA except “We’re working on it,” for the past 2.5 years?

Anyway, between live NASA TV coverage and my 10-year-old nephew’s inquiry awhile back, “Shannon, did you really go to ?!” I went rustling through my “memory box” for photos from my week at U.S. Space Camp in 1987. So, that’s what is attached. Don’t laugh too hard — at least it proves I’ve been a geek all my life, and come by it honestly! Apologies for the file sizes, but since GeekHabitat is my online “memory box” I wanted high resolution copies of these saved rather than unrecognizably small, fuzzy images.

I grew up wanting to become an , reading and watching NASA stuff voraciously. I collected NASA mission patches, and read about astronauts careers and training. I knew the dangers of spaceflight, having read about the

pad fire that killed astronauts ,

and , and having experienced the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger () as a sixth grader. That didn’t dull my excitement about what mankind was doing in space. Of course, reality kicked in during high school as I took an honest look at how I’d done up to that point; I realized I needed a lot more passion and aptitude for mathematics and my other studies than I could ever muster, and more dedication to schooling than I seemed to be putting forth. (I’m a “love to learn, but hate to study” sort. I could have done so much better, but I have no regrets. This is who I am, and was meant to be.) If I had an alternate timeline (a la Star Trek), I’d have done much better in my studies, ranked highly in my graduating class and obtained all the requisite recommendations/sponsorships to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, passed the flight physicals, graduated and become a U.S. Air Force pilot and, hopefully, a U.S. astronaut. Indeed, that’s an alternate reality, since while I love space I’ve never really had the passion for aviation that true aviators (like Justin) have. My love of it is as a passenger, being in the air with a trained pilot and free to daydream in the sky. Justin’s always said he’d support me if I wanted to obtain my pilot’s license, but my joy comes from everything not related to actively being in command of the aircraft. That said, I still have a lot I want to learn so I am a more capable and helpful right seat companion in the aircraft when Justin flies.

As for U.S. Space Camp, I’d love to go back as an adult. Space Camp was only in Alabama when I attended; it wasn’t for several more years before they opened the Space Camp in Florida, which is of course where I’d want to go now — on the off chance that a Space Shuttle mission were launching or landing during camp.

And yes, if you’re curious, there are

— some even count as college credit, depending on your course of study and university.

I have a few more Space Camp mementos that I’ll scan in if I remember, if for no other reason than to preserve them digitally since there’s no telling how much longer they’ll hold up.

I’ve got to say, I’m surprised how well those Polaroid photos held up — they look far better than the disc camera photos I took from the same timeframe, and yet they’ve all been stored in the same place all these years!

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