Posts Tagged ‘Ellington Air Force Base’

Space Shuttle Enterprise

July 23, 2011

Dog-gone-it.  I need a date for this photo, and I don’t have it – over the years, I have misplaced a file folder (a number of them, I wager)…

When I was at Rice, the space shuttle program was in it’s early days. At that time, the shuttles were test flown, and then routinely “shuttled” across the country on the top of a Boeing 747. One weekend, the Enterprise was on public display at Ellington Air Force Base, and I went to see it up close. It was interesting – exciting. Look at all the pristine tiles (I have close-up photo). Look at the attachment structure (I have a close-up of the nose structure, and it is stout). Look at the source of the 747 – a leased plane from American Airlines. I recall that I could not see “American” painted on the side of the plane, but it is obvious in the picture – must be some infrared film sensitivity. If I return to edit this post, I’ll add those close-ups I mentioned.

I was rather intrigued by the variety of people who came to the base to see the shuttle, and with camera in hand, I spent the better part of an hour waiting for an interesting variety of people to assemble in the viewfinder. See the people walking their dogs? I never would have thought to bring the dog… See the rancher snapping a photo of his wife with the shuttle in the background? And some fellow obviously looking for someone. It was a great morning.

While waiting for an opportunity for an interesting picture, a photographer from the Houston Post and I talked casually, and the paper later paid me a fee for the right to publish this picture. I never saw my photo on the “back page”, but the $50 check I received went toward textbooks (or was it beer). Well, however I spent the money, it was well spent!

So, as the space shuttle program comes to an end, I wanted to share one photo – maybe a few more later.  Now, the Russians will take us into space – and maybe the Chinese and Indians someday – maybe even the French!