Sawyer Rosenstein's Speech

I, Sawyer Rosenstein, was honored to be asked to give a speech at the welcoming ceremony for the Space Shuttle Enterprise at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Below is a transcript of the speech that I gave on Friday, April 27th, 2012:

It is an honor to be here this morning and to be a part of history. Being a part of history is something the Intrepid itself has become well known for with its illustrious military career. Over the last six years, I have had an increasing desire to learn about space, specifically manned spaceflight.

It has become both a hobby and a passion for me. My podcast, “Talking Space”, allowed me to wave goodbye to the Shuttle program as a witness to the final launch last year. With all of this under my belt, I would have thought that I’d have known all of the obvious places to be for space history. However, little did I know there would be a connection to the space program floating in our own backyard.

Sawyer Rosenstein gives his speech at the welcoming ceremony for the Space Shuttle Enterprise, sitting behind him on the runway at JFK Airport in New York City. Credit: Joel Rosenstein

On top of its history with the recovery of NASA capsules, the Intrepid has been host to numerous space-related events, many of which are truly unique experiences. Onboard the Intrepid, I have met men and woman of space history. I’ve met Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, moonwalkers. I’ve met International Space Station astronaut, TJ Creamer. And, I’ve met Space Shuttle astronauts, the entire crew of the final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135.

The STS-135 crew, the final Shuttle crew, marked the end of an era. Anybody born within the last thirty years knows of no other American means of getting humans into space. The Shuttle represented a dream for this generation. It became an American icon, representing the glory of spaceflight, a symbol of manpower, ingenuity, and patriotism.

After seeing a launch, very few dare not to dream of flying into space one day. Yet, those who are too young to remember this dream, such as my seven year old cousin Rebecca who is here with her second grade class today, might not get to experience that same thrill and excitement that I did. However, that is the important role the Intrepid plays.

Enterprise, along with the amazing team at the Intrepid, will keep the dream of spaceflight alive, and, the mystification and wonder which went through my head first seeing the Space Shuttle, can go through the minds of those too young to remember the awesome might that was the Shuttle, and inspire them the same way I was inspired.

So, welcome Orbiter Vehicle 101, Enterprise, to New York City, and may you continue to awe and inspire us all, young and old, for generations to come.

Sawyer Rosenstein in front of the Space Shuttle Enterprise shortly after its landing in New York City. Credit: Joel Rosenstein

Enterprise Delayed to Friday

Officials announced earlier this morning that the flight of Space Shuttle Enterprise aboard a modified Boeing 747 would be rescheduled for Friday, April 27th.

The flight from Dulles International Airport in Virginia to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport was originally scheduled for Monday, April 23rd, but was postponed due to poor weather.

The flight was then rescheduled for Wednesday, April 25th. However, after a meeting early Tuesday morning, officials decided to hold off until Friday. The cause for delay is being reported as a low-pressure area over the flight path. 

Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum prior to its departure ceremony and mating to a modified Boeing 747. Credit: Gene Mikulka/@genejm29

NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with Enterprise mounted atop will fly at a relatively low altitude over various parts of the New York City metropolitan area on Friday. The aircraft is expected to fly near a variety of landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Intrepid. After the flyover is complete, the SCA will land at JFK. 

According to a NASA press release, the Federal Aviation Administration is coordinating the flight, which is scheduled to occur between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. EDT, weather permitting. The exact route and timing depend on weather and  operational constraints. 

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was used for approach and landing tests in the late 1970s and has been at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. Space Shuttle Discovery has now taken its place, and Enterprise will be on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City later this year.

Friday's weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high 50s F with light to moderate winds. Chance of precipitation is low as a high pressure area is expected to form over the region.

A Flag Full of Stars

At 10:28 AM Eastern daylight time yesterday 18 July 2011, a moment that might get lost in spaceflight history occurred on board the International Space Station. (ISS)

After seven days twenty one hour and forty one minutes of docked operations, the main hatch between the ISS and the Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis was closed for the final time. It was a seminal moment in the history of both the Space Station and the Space Transportation System program – the way NASA has brought people and cargo into space for the past thirty years.

Never again would the magnificent space craft/aircraft hybrids the Space Shuttle Orbiters, reach for the sky and pay a call on the ISS.  The Space Station an almost 100 ton orbiting facility, is a multinational complex that owes its very existence to the Space Shuttle Orbiters. 

According to NASA Public Affairs, the total time the Space Shuttle Orbiters Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery invested in constructing the International Space Station is staggering: Two hundred and thirty four days, fourteen hours and thirty minutes on this project.

With the construction phase now at an end, The ISS has become the orbiting laboratory it was designed to be. The exciting opportunity of using this for microgravity research now begins.

To mark the occasion of this final mission, the crew of the STS 135 mission, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim, brought with them some mementos. These included a desk model of the Space Shuttle Orbiter signed by John Shannon , the Space Shuttle Program Manager, Leroy Cain, Chair of the Mission Management Team for STS 135, and Lead Flight Director Kwatsi Alibaruho.  The little desktop model orbiter is affixed on a bulkhead near the Harmony Node hatch. 

Another memento is in the form of a challenge…

In 1981 the maiden voyage of the Space Shuttle Program, Columbia carried on board 1000 small US Flags. These flags were given to those who had made significant contributions to the success of that first flight. One of these flags were carried back into orbit by the crew of STS 135. The small flag is currently attached to the airlock door of the Harmony module, where Atlantis was docked for seven days. The flag is flanked by the mission insignias for STS-1 on its left and for STS-135 on its right.

The final crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis have challenged the various commercial companies hoping to construct and operate a “space taxi” service for cargo and eventually crew to the International Space Station. The challenge is to “Be the first United States spacecraft launched from US soil, with a US crew to successfully dock and board the facility and return the US Flag back home to Earth.” 

Right now we can only speculate as to who that company will be but to be sure Elon Musk's company, Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX is the early favorite.  

After who ever brings the flag back home, it will then await another journey into space. It will be carried on the first Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle to break Earth's gravity well.  This will be the first US piloted spacecraft to explore deep space since the Apollo missions of the late nineteen sixty’s and early seventies.

After the end of STS 135, the Space Shuttle Orbiters are destined to sit inert in various museum’s throughout the United States, where they will hopefully inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts. But their contributions and their impact will be felt for years to come, through the International Space Station and a small US Flag. 



Launch Photos Taken L-0

These are photos taken by somebody who followed along with the team of Talking Space. These photos are of launch as well as the team. A post reflecting on launch may be posted in the near future.

A spectacular panorama as Atlantis lifts off on STS-135 Credit: Joel Rosenstein

Atlantis continues her climb uphill as it heads for a final meetup to the International Space Station Credit: Joel Rosenstein

Atlantis lit up the sky making a sad day very bright as she lit up the sky Credit: Joel Rosenstein

Go for roll program as Atlantis does a rotation maneuver to put her in perfect alignment for orbit Credit: Joel Rosenstein

The team puts their hands together to show unity and harmony between the team of Talking Space Credit: Dr. Lucy Rogers