With goosebumps covering my body, I watched the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket make history yesterday with it’s amazing launch, sending a Tesla Roadster, complete with a space traveler called Starman into space. Although there was a notable malfunction in the launch sequence, with the center core failing to land onto the drone ship, I still see it as a huge success.
This event brought me back to when I was young. The date was April 12, 1981. I was 9 years old and a big dreamer. I loved everything about space exploration and tried to keep up to date with all the developments of that time. I was looking for an escape from many things in my mind, so at that time, it meant reading as many books that I could find at the library on this subject.
There was quite a bit of a lead up to that April day. It was all over the news. That day would be the first launch of the Space Shuttle program, seeing Columbia make her maiden voyage.
Growing up in Canada meant that the launch was not being televised, but it would be aired live on the radio. Yes…I waited anxiously to listen to the launch of the Space Shuttle. But I did better than that, I recorded the launch onto an audio cassette. I had a simple transistor radio and a simple tape recorder. Two separate devices, so I placed the tape recorder close to the static-filled single speaker of the radio and hit record just as they announced there was 60 seconds to go. My body filled with excitement as the countdown started.
Almost 37 years later, I experienced the same excitement, the same goosebumps with yesterday’s SpaceX launch. With both of these events, I knew the world would change.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s, the space shuttle excitement died down for the general public. Many times, launches didn’t get much media coverage, but to me, that was the point of it all, a true victory for our species. The fact that regularly sending people into space became uneventful, is proof of how much humanity changed and had evolved.
As the SpaceX Falcon Heavy soared through the sky, the side booster rockets detaching, turning around and landing perfectly, then finally seeing the Tesla Roadster flying into dark space made me think that humanity is about to be changed again forever.