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Time marches on, priorities shift, and old dreams are shelved in the face of new realities. While the final flight of shuttle Atlantis doesn’t mark the end of either NASA or the U.S. space program, it may be a good long while before we send American astronauts into space with the regularity to which we’ve grown accustomed.
| Jul 12, 2011 | No comments |

Time marches on, priorities shift, and old dreams are shelved in the face of new realities. While the final flight of shuttle Atlantis doesn’t mark the end of either NASA or the U.S. space program, it may be a good long while before we send American astronauts into space with the regularity to which we’ve grown accustomed. Thus, I offer…

Astronaut Career Moves After Termination of the Space Shuttle Program

  1. Advisor to the China National Space Administration
  2. Docent at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
  3. Have brain installed in robot body, then reapply to NASA
  4. Official Tweeter for Mars Rover Curiosity
  5. Buzz Lightyear character performer, Walt Disney World
  6. Member of Congress
  7. Executive Director of SETI@Home
  8. Pilot, Virgin Galactic Spaceways
  9. Enter cryogenic suspended animation and wait for mission to Mars
  10. Science fiction writer specializing in tales of future American manned space missions

…feel free to add your own suggestions.

Fred was born in Tacoma, Washington, but spent most of his formative years in California, where his parents pastored a couple of small churches. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, and spent 24 years in the Air Force as a bomber navigator, flight-test navigator, and military educator. He retired from the Air Force in 2007, and now works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training.Fred has been married for 25 years to the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. When he's not writing or reading, he enjoys running, hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and playing around with computers.Writing has always been a big part of his life, but he kept it mostly private until a few years ago, when it occurred to him that if he was ever going to get published, he needed to get serious about it. Since then, he's written more than twenty short stories that have been published in a variety of print and online magazines, and a novel, The Muse, that debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, which was a finalist for the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award for book of the year in the speculative genre. Speculative fiction is his first love, but he writes the occasional bit of non-fiction or poetry, just to keep things interesting.

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Karen Jordan

I like #10 best, and I look forward to reading your books!

E. Stephen Burnett

Another possible solution, for Christian astronauts …

11. Live live to glorify Christ in many other ways, while dreaming of the day when finally, on the resurrected New Earth under His physical rulership, they can participate in the New Earth Vintage Space Shuttle Hobbyists’ Association.

Yes, I have no doubt we’ll have at least one incarnation of those. It would be similar to how railroad enthusiasts have model railroads, or actual railroads, to commemorate their favorite outmoded transportation.

And finally, I must admit I watched the shuttle launch, and felt disappointment, and queued the actual launch — despite the two countdown holds — perfectly with my soundtrack of the Apollo 13 launch sequence. This was both dramatic and resulted in scientific discovery, for I found that, as best I could tell, the timing of booster rocket separations for the shuttle must be similar to the timing for the old Apollo rocket booster rocket separations. How could I tell? The music from the film hit the same queues for the booster separations I saw in real life. Am I right? Thoughts?

E. Stephen Burnett

I guess that would depend on whether the launch sequence in the film ran on real time from launch to separation. It’s been a long time since I watched Apollo 13.

From my memory of the behind-the-scenes information I viewed, they did show that sequence in real time.

But why wait for the New Earth? No reason we can’t charter the club right now!

Hey, we could, but I think here on Old Earth it would be all model spaceships and reminiscing and hopes, and not actual working cars railroads — er, shuttle missions.

Further column idea: does modern Christianity in America have a culture encouraging people to help explore creation and get into actual operations science (I am not talking here about social stuff and secular evolution nonsense) now? Or do we indeed ignore that stuff, downplay its significance, or otherwise react to it in accidental Gnostic ways?

Regrettably, if the answer is that we only emphasize “spiritual” vocations and overcorrect for abuse of real science by ignoring science, then there are indeed valid reasons behind secularists’ accusations that Christians are “anti-science.”

Morgan Busse

No anti-science Christian here 🙂 Unlike most writers who dreamed about becoming a writer at age 6, science was my love (I was even part of science olympiad and other science competing clubs including one that I had to have the entire periodic table memorized… I know, nerdy, right?). Still love science, even though I pursue writing now.

Fred, you led me on with that post title. I’ve been looking for a job for 2 months now, thought you would give me some tips on how to land a job 🙂

Morgan Busse

Lol! Actually, just after posting that I went to a job interview and got the job! Whoot! So no congress for me. I’m not a good liar so I don’t think I would make a good politician 😛

Ken Rolph
Ken Rolph

How might the exploratory spirit work regarding space?

1. No functioning space vehicles
2. Low orbit, near earth activity
3. A space station
4. Landing on the moon

Ummm, hang on, didn’t they do that already, only in reverse order? So what’s happening? We seem to be running backwards, like an old clock winding down.

I can’t help but think it has to do with that Year 2000. I spent half a century waiting for the Year 2000. It was going to be so special, but I didn’t actually think it would ever materialise. When we got there it seem on the surface that nothing happened. But perhaps deeply underneath the future ended. After all, we don’t have the Year 2000 to look forward to anymore. We just got left here, tossed a few technological toys to distract ourselves with and have to sit around waiting for things to shrink back towards the cave.

Jessica Thomas

Heh.  I’m too sad to joke about it yet.  🙁  Watching the last space shuttle go up brought me to tears.  Those shuttles have been going up since I was a young munchkin.  Bye bye to a dream.