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Jun 28, 2020, 01:09 AM
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Quiet Time of Remembrance - Space Shuttle Endeavor (OV-105)

Quiet Time of Remembrance

A rather quiet time for me was this past May 11th, as it marks the last time my assigned Space Shuttle was powered down for the Last Time.

This date marks a significant time when Space Shuttle Endeavor (Tail number OV-105) was powered down for it's final time on May 11th, 2011. This marked 19 years of service and this magnificent spacecraft managed to accumulate more than 123 million miles and over 25 flights, far few for it's projected service life design.

No matter what you think about the Space Shuttle era or the overall program, to me it was my blood, sweat and tears. Although it may have not contributed to my divorce directly it certainly had an impact because of the hours (Shift work) and travel I was asked to support this program. After so many years being Divorce from the mother of my two wonderful daughters, I believe they have grown to understand my plight of my selection of work as an Aerospace Engineer during this time period and supporting the Space Shuttle Program.

So, now we come to terms today. A soft whisper while half asleep at my keyboard saying it was worth it. To see such a magnificent vehicle like the Space Shuttle to rise up from a sketch during the late 1970's and to become one of the robust space vehicles known to man. Most especially being part of the initial efforts to bring Space Shuttle Endeavor to active duty as a viable spacecraft.

Yes, tragically, we lost two (2) vehicle, the Challenger (Tail Number OV-99) killing seven (7) Astronauts and Columbia (Tail Number OV-102) and killing another seven (7) brave Astronauts. I quietly endured personal sorrow and sadness without any assistance from what is in place today. It was hard for me to accept the lost of human life during this program. A program that I was part of and at times, I just could not bear it and quietly cried at my desk.

Personally, It was very difficult for me as at times I deliberately sabotage my chances of many opportunities in NASA Management and those of Technical Lead positions because I feared to be even remotely close to being directly tied to a decision that would kill someone. My early days during one such Work Exchange Assignment was being a NASA Test Director for six months and learning of those who were on duty when two (2) technicians died at the AFT Compartment at one active Space Shuttle due to lack of adequate Oxygen Levels. One fell and his buddy fell trying to save his co-worker. That poor NASA Test Director who was at duty was quietly placed in charge of the Lightning Protection Program at Kennedy Space Center and did a fantastic job for his reminder of his career. However, this made me well aware of the great responsibility we ALL had with working in this field and at NASA. If something goes wrong, it is not a Computer Program that gets stuck or a TV set that might short out and you are no longer able to watch your favorite program, no Sir, this stuff kills.

Going back, my Life was completely immersed and dedicated in my Engineering support for the Space Shuttle as Interface Lead under the Data Processing System (DPS). Worked assuming higher responsibility as a Flight Software Engineer change package Engineer at Kennedy Space Center and coordinating with other Systems Engineers for impacts to changes of Space Shuttle Flight Software and reporting back to a Level-II Approval Board at Johnson Space Center all the while switching work shifts to support around the clock processing coverage to all Space Shuttles. It was like working on a pair of roller skates. Sleep? What Sleep?

So, you see this date (May 11th) passed while recognizing all the blood, sweat and tears that I went through, most especially remembering and supporting one early morning trip to Palm Dale, California to assist my Subsystem manager from Johnson Space Center in assisting him with Avionics Installation Drawings and providing verification that the correct equipment was installed in Endeavor before it's very first Power-UP. That was back May 1991, a full week and a half at Palm Dale, CA.

So, May 11th, 2011 was very hard for me to know that the Baby of the Space Shuttle Fleet, the one I personally brought it to Life, was being Powered Down for the very last time.

I am dedicating the following picture to all those brave Astronauts, Technicians, Painters, and all others who worked during the Space Shuttle program and who lost their lives during work related disaster.

Additionally, I pray to the almighty Lord to keep our Astronauts safe during re-entry of Earth Atmosphere and safe parachute decent and subsequent ocean splash down. Amen.

Last edited by PittSpecial; Jun 28, 2020 at 01:26 AM.
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