Friday, October 5, 2012

Follow Friday - Wayne Hale's Blog

Here is another post in my Follow Friday series.  If you haven't noticed yet, I have a variety of diverse interests that I am trying to cycle through.  Today's post is targeted towards the Space Tweep and enthusiasts community.

For those of you who don't know, Wayne Hale is a retired Space Shuttle Flight Director.  He writes now about his memories on the shuttle program, and space leadership.  Recently he has begun to reflect on the Columbia accident, in recognition of the upcoming 10 year anniversary.

As a space enthusiast, I was profoundly affected by the space shuttle Challenger accident 26 years ago.  As I worked and studied towards becoming an engineer, I have read about and studied many failure investigation cases, in an attempt to absorb the lessons learned.  Much like parenthood, I don't expect to avoid mistakes.  I simply hope to avoid making the same mistakes again.

I had made my way into the NASA family by the time of the space shuttle Columbia accident.  It brought back everything... with one minor difference.  In Omaha, mourning the Challenger astronauts, I felt isolated and alone in my desire to keep the space shuttle program going.  I felt like I was the only one who believed we still had to explore space.  In Houston, I wasn't alone.

Living in Clear Lake, Texas... among people who knew the Columbia astronauts personally, who felt the same commitment to space exploration that I did... Walking through the hallway in Building 4 at 4 am each week, where the STS-107 "Welcome Home" decorations were replaced by memories of the crew... It brought everything back.  I lived in Taylor Lake Village.  Right down the block from a neighbor I don't ever remember meeting.

Before Columbia, when I initialed something, I usually used all three of my initials.  Yes, I did feel amazed when I finally realized that my married name gave me the intials "KSC."

After Columbia, I began to embrace just using two letters.  My way of remembering.

If you share my interests in human spaceflight, I encourage you to read what Wayne Hale writes.  Think about the program decisions he and others made.  Work to remember the lessons of the past.