Saturday, July 9, 2011


CROWDS BUT CASTS PALL OVER HOUSTON - With a cry of encouragement from its commander, the Atlantis shuttle thundered into orbit Friday on a flight that will close out three decades of triumph and tragedy for NASA and usher in a period of uncertainty for the space program.  After some last-minute suspense over the weather and some launch pad equipment, Atlantis and its four astronauts blasted off in front of a crowd at Cape Canaveral, Fla., estimated at close to 1 million, the size of the throng that watched Apollo 11 shoot to the moon in 1969.  After Atlantis’ return, scheduled for July 20, it will be lights out for the shuttle program.  Thousands of workers - including about 1,800 in the Houston area - will be laid off within days.  Houston, home of Mission Control, also is getting hit in its ego. Aerospace ranks fourth among Houston’s industries, far behind king oil.  But it remains a matter of pride for a city whose baseball team is named the Astros and whose basketball team is the Rockets. 

Space is “part of our psyche here,” Parker said. “It’s how we view ourselves as a city.”  But that identity has taken three hard hits, and the loss of thousands of jobs will be another one.  The first blow came in 2004, when then-President George W. Bush announced the end of the space shuttle program. His plan was to replace it with a return-to-the-moon program run out of Houston.  Then in 2010, President Barack Obama canceled that over-budget Houston-centric shuttle replacement program. He proposed going to an asteroid in a plan that at the moment is less detailed. The concept relies on private companies to take NASA’s place in shuttling people to Earth’s orbit and the International Space Station.  With no successor to the space shuttle ready to fly, it will be at least three years before astronauts are launched again from U.S. soil.

At 11:29 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 8, 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lit its rockets and roared into space.  Four astronauts made the climb toward orbit and the International Space Station (ISS), where they will arrive tomorrow Sunday.  As Space Shuttle Atlantis made its final launch into space, hundreds of local workers who helped build the fleet decades ago watched the event with mixed emotions.  Space travel by mechanical means is not the accepted process to rise to other planets; but in case it could be achieved, it is not possible to transcend the material universe by mechanical means. The yogis are more advanced.  

Their airships (of the denizens of heaven) are not like those we have invented in the modern age, which fly only from one country to another; their airplanes were capable of going from one planet to another. There are many such statements in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from which we can understand that there were facilities to travel from one planet to another, especially in the higher planetary system, and who can say that they are not still traveling? The speed of our airplanes and space vehicles is very limited, but, as we have already studied, Kardama Muni traveled in outer space in an airplane which was like a city, and he journeyed to see all the different heavenly planets. That was not an ordinary airplane, nor was it ordinary space travel. Because Kardama Muni was such a powerful mystic yogī, his opulence was envied by the denizens of heaven.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 3: “The Status Quo”
Chapter 33: “Activities of Kapila” - Verse 15
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

No comments: