In mid-1982, I had a t-shirt that my mom got from an offer on the back of a Cheerios box. When I was looking through old slide scans to pick the photos I used on my Mother’s Day entry, I found a couple photos of me wearing that shirt while playing in the sandbox with my friend Thomas.
Can you see what it says? “The Spaceship That Lands On Earth — U.S. Space Shuttle.” (I suppose that the fact that the shuttle landed on a runway was a big deal, considering all previous U.S. spacecraft landed in the ocean and had to be picked up by boat.) I’m sure my mom gave it to Goodwill years and years and years ago, but I’d pay GOOD money to have this shirt today.
I was 4 years old and the space shuttle had been flying for just a year when these photos were taken. Now I’m 32 years old and helping that same space shuttle get off the ground and rendezvous with the space station. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
A lot of people at NASA knew they wanted to work here from the time I could first walk and talk, but not me. As a kid, I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher, an artist, a Disney animator, and an architect. It wasn’t until high school that I started thinking about aerospace engineering.
But it seems my parents had a premonition of where I’d end up all along…
Tune in this afternoon at 1:20 pm CDT to see the third-to-last launch of “the spaceship that lands on Earth!”