Mission Complete

After 200 orbits around the Earth and a final journey of 5,284,862 miles, an era ends. (Pierre Ducharme / Reuters)
After 30 years, over 520 million miles in space (almost enough to reach Jupiter) and a thunderous sonic boom at 5:50 this morning, the NASA shuttle program bids adieu. Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour (as well as Enterprise) are officially retired.

It’s hard to accept, especially since the shuttle has become synonymous with Florida (it’s even on some of our license plates), but NASA will soldier on with a more robotic future. I’ve always been a little torn with the entire shuttle program. Sure it’s been a success increasing our knowledge on many fronts, building the space station and launching countless satellites, both commercial and military, but I’m a product of the space race, where we sat hypnotized watching grainy black and white images on TV of men in orbit and ultimately, standing on the moon! Low Earth orbit missions, although productive and valuable, just didn’t have the glitz, the chutzpah, dare I say “the right stuff” compared to the Gemini and Apollo missions.

Regardless of my feelings, it has been an amazing 30 years. Hats off to NASA and all it’s dedicated men and women, in particular to the brave crews of the Columbia and Challenger….I’m going to miss those foundation rattling sonic booms.

Back on planet Florida, I logged my Miromar-30 on an very hot day. Nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary to report (boring is good), although I did chat with a neighbor when I returned about forming up a riding group. It would be great fun to ride down Treeline in an organized group.

Route: Miromar-30
Ride Time: 1:56:28
Stopped Time: 32:52
Distance: 30.39 miles
Average: 15.66 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 20.10 miles/h
Ascent: 175 feet
Descent: 122 feet
Calories: 1942

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