It started in 1961 with Alan Shepard and Godspeed in February, then to 1962 with John Glenn who blazed the path with Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, which culminated in the promise of President Kennedy to put a man on the moon. The lunar landings begot the Space Shuttle program which exemplified that American Spirit to go where no man has gone before. It was fitting to have a member of the crew of the Enterprise of Star Trek fame to usher in the final touchdown of Endeavour on September 21, the day of the autumnal equinox.
Friday was not only the first day of autumn but also a resurrection of the American ideals and pride that has us glued to our television sets at they lit the Roman Candles from Cape Canaveral and Cape Kennedy. The last trek of Endeavour brought a swelling of American pride to all who viewed the piggy back ride of the last shuttle space transport vehicle in our generation. Memories of Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, Gus Grissom and those others who perished for the goodness of our space program followed in the wake of the last flight of Endeavour.
The question is what's next for our space program as it not only hurdles the challenges of Mars and exploration but also the earthly bounds of budget constraints. The west San Fernando Valley was unduly ignored on this last flight with shuttle engines tested in the Chatsworth Hills and components built in Canoga Park and small workshops throughout the valley. The last venture of Endeavour was indeed the completion of the "Circle of Flight," from Mercury to the Moon to the International Space Station.