The Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Weather was questionable but just good enough to get the job done.
For my ongoing series of Friday interviews, I’m talking with the guy who runs the Planetarium at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
His name is Jim Todd and I’ve talked with him many times over the years on space related issues.
#1 – I know you open the OMSI Planetarium for Space Shuttle Launches on the big, big screen. How many launches have you seen–and which ones were most special, in your mind?
I have lost count on the number of shuttle launches seen in the planetarium or auditorium since 1981. But I was fortunate to attend two launches of Atlantis in person (STS-125 & STS-133) at 3 miles away at KSC. Each launch is special in its own way.
#2 – What was the mood in the planetarium during today’s final launch? Were people cheering, crying or what? The mood was quite a mix of sadness, disappointment and happiness. Most were having a hard time understanding why the shuttles had to be retired when they were working so well for the past 30 years.
#3- Speaking of that, we know the Space Shuttles work and have been a huge success. In your mind, does it make sense to end this program like we are doing? After 30 years, the shuttle has completed its mission objectives in so many different areas. They are too expensive to launch and operate by today’s standards. Retiring the shuttle doesn’t mean it is the end of space exploration, just moving on to other space adventures.
#4 – As someone who’s watched the ups and downs of America’s Space Program for most of his life–where do you think we should go from here? Back to the moon? Another planet? Best answer to this is to continue rather than go back.
#5 – Finally: is there anything else you’d like to say about the Shuttle Program as it goes into the history books? The Space Shuttle is an amazing machine and accomplished so much for the past 30 years. The Space Shuttle is perhaps one of the best investments we have ever had in building for the future.