<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Launch, After the Fact

So I never did get the SpaceShipOne internet feeds to stream for me; I came to the conclusion that it must simply have been due to traffic, because I could get their videos and ads to work just fine, and the live stream somewhat after the fact also worked beautifully. Ah, well. Such is life.

Without the live stream, though, I did what I could: I watched every single video clip, looked at every photo, read every article as they were posted. Sometimes it seemed as if I was doing nothing but switching browser windows and hitting reload. Knowing that it had already happened and was happening without me didn’t change the emotional impact of the event one bit. Here I sat, at my desk at work, hunched over to all but press my nose against the screen, watching grainy videos of a white spot in the sky with tears in my eyes.

"Go," I told it. "Go, go, go."

It was incredible.

And strange as it may seem, I started to have some idea of what it must have felt like to watch TV when people started going into space, when people first flew to the moon. I've said before in conversations to others, I was born after people landed on the moon and it has not happened in my lifetime. The biggest leaps that have occurred while I've been breathing seem to be experienced by machines: telescopes and probes and rovers. I have witnessed the loss of two space shuttles. Mir has crashed into the ocean. Through all of it, there have been other things, amazing things: the start of the ISS, the pictures sent back from Hubble, water on Mars. And yet there has always been that distance, the conceptual boundary--the need for the interviews and voice-over telling the general population how and why this is important.

I don't know, maybe I'm alone in this, but it felt yesterday as if I were watching something entirely new. All day I felt buoyed up by an incredible feeling of hope. Misty-eyed and blinking, I couldn't help but think, "Yep, there’s that sense of wonder."

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 1:10 PM


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