Yesterday I came back to my office after a long rendezvous sim and found this waiting for me: my mission montage from the STS-129 crew! Hooray!
I’ve worked many missions, but had never received one of these because they’re usually only given out to the lead flight controller for each discipline. Everyone in my office already has at least two or three of these from the flights they’ve worked as Lead Rendezvous Officer, so it’s nice to finally have one of my own. The only downer is that the crew makes a habit of personally dropping these off in each person’s office, and I wasn’t at my desk when they brought it over. I haven’t seen any of them since the mission last November, and it would’ve been nice to chat with them again.
I know it’s just a signed piece of cardboard, and I know the “flown in space and traveled 4.5 million miles” patch was unceremoniously vacuum-packed with a bunch of identical patches and stowed deep down in a space shuttle locker somewhere — but it’s MY cardboard and MY patch, because STS-129 was MY lead mission. That feels good.
I have no idea where I’m going to end up next year when the shuttle program ends, but I’ll always have good memories.