“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”
I fell in love with the ideas of flight and space when I was a little girl. It caught my attention, held my imagination and dreams. The space shuttle program is coming to an end. The orbiters, the beautiful black and white birds, are taking their place in history. However, there is no new craft ready to take its place. Instead, we are entering a new time of unknowns. Where it will go and where it will lead I do not know. But, I do know that I plan on seeing the Discovery lift from earth on this flight. To watch the fuels mix and combust, putting forth thousands of pounds of pressure and create inertia, to boost the bird from her home. What will happen without these dream capturers, these pure science moments? Where will our newer technology come from, our new spin-offs of products that many never will realize nor care that they come from space. Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavour – the names caught the hearts and imagination of some. The names still ring of bravery, intelligence, tragedy, and yet victory in the face of utterly devastating circumstances. I want to see the bird fly. I want to see the orbiter move away from the trellis which holds her and be powered into the sky. I want to feel the roar of the engines in my insides, as my heart and the vibration of that might sound mingle for a moment and my heart beat is part of the engine roar. Slip the surly bonds of earth, top the heights, and trod into space.
High Flight – by John Magee