The overwhelming winner of last Thursday’s Teasers is Space “Shovels.” Sorry Em, there will eventually be a playoff amongst vote getters that didn’t make the cut, so you may yet see the Flyin’ Ford Fairmont.

(STS-125 Space Shuttle Atlantis awaits launch on Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A. NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis 2009)

The triple ‘T’ for today is Space “Shovels,” which ironically plays into some current events. Space Shuttle Mission: STS-125 has been in the news of late chronicling the amazing job the crew has done working on the Hubble Telescope. I heard an analogy that it was the equivalent of performing surgery with boxing gloves.

(STS-125 Mission Specialist Andrew Feustel and John Grunsfeld work on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA 2009)

This is the Shuttle’s final mission to Hubble. NASA is phasing out the Shuttle program and replacing it with the Constellation Program with the Ares and Orion spacecraft.

(Concept of the Ares I crew launch vehicle, left, and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle. NASA/MSFC 2008)

The spacecraft will be a hybrid of elements from the Saturn V and the current Shuttle. The Constellation Program is building these to return to the moon and build a sustainable long term human presence with the ultimate goal to provide a stepping stone to Mars.

I have only known NASA by the Space Shuttle. I was born post Apollo Program and have not seen a moon landing in my lifetime. However, it is predicted that today’s 4-16 year olds will be the pilots for the Constellation Missions. I received that bit of information from the cards in the model of the Orion crew capsule in my son’s Chick-fil-A children’s meal. It has now been 40 years since we first landed on the moon. This brings us to Space “Shovels.”

My son is about to approach the expected Constellation piloting age of four. He and I both geek out at this. Gabe loves all things space, from gazing at stars in the back yard to asking to see rocket launches on YouTube.  

This is one of his favorites:

On vacation to Washington D.C. last year one of the highlights for Gabe was getting to see the Space “Shovel” at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

(Space Shuttle Enterprise at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport)

(Hollie & Gabe behind the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport)

Gabe has always called the Space Shuttle the Space “Shovel.”  He continues to call it a shovel even after being told the correct annunciation. Hollie and I both laugh at this amazing feat of technology being referred to as a shovel by our four year old. After Gabe graduates from the Naval Academy in Annapolis and joins NASA’s Constellation Program to pilot one of the Ares rockets, I am sure we will all look back at this and laugh. I’m just sayin’.

(Gabe behind a WWII torpedo displayed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. which he claimed was a rocket)

(Gabe in front of a Soviet Nuclear ICBM at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum on the Mall in D.C. This picture cracks me up, I always wonder what the Soviets think?)


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