CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Education

September 20, 2012

Space shuttle Endeavour has Houston stopover

HOUSTON — Waving American flags and space shuttle toys, hundreds of people lined the streets and crowded the airport Wednesday as they watched space shuttle Endeavour touch down in Houston on its way to be permanently displayed in California.

But for many, the experience was bittersweet, tinged with an aftertaste of having been cheated of something they believe should rightfully have been theirs.

“I think that it’s the worst thing that they can do, rotten all the way,” said 84-year-old Mary Weiss, clinging to her walker just before Endeavour landed after flying low over Gulf Coast towns, New Orleans and then downtown Houston and its airports.

Space City, partly made famous by Tom Hanks when he uttered the line “Houston, we have a problem” in the movie “Apollo 13,” has long tied its fortune to a mix of oil and NASA. Astronauts train in the humid, mosquito-ridden city. Many call it home years after they retire. The Johnson Space Center and an adjacent museum hug Galveston bay.

Yet Houston’s bid for a shuttle was rejected after the White House retired the fleet last summer to spend more time and money on reaching destinations like Asteroids and Mars. Instead, Houston got a replica that used to be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center.

“I think it’s a pretty rotten deal, basically,” said Scott Rush, 54, of Crystal Cove, Texas, wearing a t-shirt proudly proclaiming that he had witnessed Endeavour’s final launch. “The one we’re getting is a toy. An important toy, but a toy nonetheless.”

Back-to-back delays in the ferry flight resulted in one day being cut from the Houston visit. But Wednesday dawned under bright sunshine and cooler-than-normal temperatures, drawing hundreds of excited people, many of whom brought children or grandchildren along.

After landing, the Endeavour rolled slowly in front of the cheering crowd. It circled and preened like a model on the catwalk, giving awed spectators an opportunity to take pictures from a variety of angles.

“I want to go on it,” said 3-year-old Joshua Lee as he headed to the landing area with his mother and grandmother.

Joshua’s mother, Jacqueline Lee of Houston, viewed the landing as an educational opportunity she had to share with her son.

“It’s history in the making and it probably will be the end and I don’t know if he’ll get to see this again,” Lee said. “I wish we were able to rally enough to have it stay here in Texas since we’ve had a major input in all the history of NASA.”

NASA still plays a large role in Houston, and astronaut Clayton Anderson, who lived on the International Space Station from June to November 2007, encouraged people to focus on a new era of space exploration.

“The shuttles are a wonderful legacy, a huge part of Houston, but now it’s time to look to the future,” said Anderson, who lives in the Houston suburb of League City.

Earlier Wednesday, hundreds gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to bid Endeavour farewell. The shuttle will spend the night in Houston before continuing its journey to Los Angeles International Airport, where it’s scheduled to land Friday.

In mid-October, Endeavour will be transported down city streets to the California Science Center.

This is the last flight for a space shuttle. Atlantis will remain at Kennedy for display. Discovery already is at the Smithsonian Institution, parked at a hangar in Virginia since April.

Endeavour — the replacement for the destroyed Challenger shuttle — made its debut in 1992 and flew 25 times in space before retiring. It logged 123 million miles in space and circled Earth nearly 4,700 times.

Connie West, 60, of Deerfield, Kan., viewed the landing with friends from Wichita. The group expressed sadness that the shuttle program had ended. They felt the pain of Houstonians who felt cheated, and agreed they should have had a shuttle.

Still, the excitement of seeing one was enough on Wednesday.

“I felt awesome,” West said. “I wanted to see it make its last flight and couldn’t get there (to Florida), so this is awesome.”

1
Text Only
Education
  • Winston County Technology Center Wins AAA/Ford Auto Skills State Championship

    Twenty high school automotive students from across the state turned out in hopes of tuning out the competition today in the State Finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. The students fought for scholarships in the automotive industry and for the chance to advance to the National Finals, which take place at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The competition, which is geared toward students looking to jumpstart their careers in the automotive industry, is especially relevant for today’s struggling economy, in which car owners are putting more money into car repair and maintenance as a way of avoiding the big-ticket purchase of a new car.

    April 16, 2014

  • Variety of classes offered during Homeschool Spring Workshops

    Wallace State Community College’s Continuing Education Department has a full slate of classes to offer homeschool students this spring with the second session as a continuation of the first session.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • WSCC invesTECHgate 1.jpg Wallace State to host approximately 600 high school juniors during ‘InvesTECHgate’ week beginning April 14   

    Wallace State Community College will host its third annual “InvesTECHgate” week beginning April 14, and this year’s event should be the biggest draw yet.
    Various Wallace State technical programs are set to be flooded with approximately 600 high school juniors from Blount, Cullman and Morgan Counties. InvesTECHgate allows high school students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the technical field to get an in-depth look at those programs on the collegiate level.
     

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Ponder named gold scholar.jpg Wallace State Sophomore Ponder named 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar

    Levi Ponder, a 2012 Vinemont graduate, is one of only 50 Gold Scholars among qualified candidates across 38 states, standing out among more than 1,700 applicants. The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic team and it will recognize Ponder at the Phi Theta Kappa National Convention on Friday, April 26 in Orlando, Fla.
     

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commentary: At many leading schools, football fails to make cut

    To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most.

    April 7, 2014

  • Wallace State Earns National Award for Marketing

    Wallace State Community College in Hanceville was recognized by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) for its “Hot Jobs” television advertisement series during the Medallion Awards ceremony at organization’s annual conference in March in New Orleans. The commercials, which spotlight career opportunities related to degree and certificate programs offered by the college, are part of Wallace State’s popular Be One of Us marketing campaign.
     

    April 4, 2014

  • Samford University to Host Minority Youth Science Academy July 6-9

    Samford University will host a Minority Youth Science Academy July 6-9 to help prepare outstanding minority high school students who aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    April 2, 2014

  • Wallace State’s Practical Nursing program tops state ranking

    The Practical Nursing program at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., is at the top of the list when it comes to the success of students passing the National Council Licensure for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) exam.

    March 31, 2014

  • Wallace State set to help with new GED exam

    With the changes in how the exam is administered and new fees, Wallace State Community College’s Adult Education program has taken steps to make sure students seeking to earn their GED are successful in their efforts.
     

    March 21, 2014

  • WSCC Sloan earns 99s WSCC Flight Technology student Chelsie Sloan becomes first female in program to earn Ninety-Nines, Inc. scholarship

    Wallace State Community College dual enrollment student Chelsie Sloan wasn’t sure about her career path as she approached her senior year at Corner High School.

    March 19, 2014 1 Photo