My dream job is to be an astronaut. Who said a dream job had to be realistic! I have always had a fascination with space exploration. I grew up 11 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center so my childhood was filled with space camp, meeting astronauts and watching shuttle launches from my backyard. Each night I would look up at the night sky and see the constellations above. It always amazed me thinking about the universe beyond our own little planet. I would love to be a part of a career that is bigger than me.
A few summers ago, I was on-site for the final Shuttle launch, STS-135 Atlantis. It was a historic day that almost didn’t happen. The weather was cloudy all morning with rain off the coast of Florida. I was hopeful that we would have a launch since I drove 2 hours to see it and this would be my final day in town. The morning crept by slowly and the viewing site was packed. We were “no-go” until a miracle break in the clouds gave way for a successful window to launch. We listened to the countdown through the speakers at the site as mission control counted down the final moments before liftoff. I remember myself thinking how every launch before this was no big deal. Each time I saw a shuttle launch it was very spur of the moment: walk out to my driveway to see liftoff over my roof, here liftoff one morning lying in bed or watching liftoff from my elementary school playground the year John Glenn returned to space. But this time was different. Everything I had known growing up was coming to a close. I had moved the summer before so coming home for the final launch was a big deal to me.
Watching STS-135 liftoff from my hometown for one final flight was emotional and inspiring. I always loved learning the history of NASA and human spaceflight but that day solidified it for me. One day, I would love to be a part of the next space program. My father got to work through the Shuttle program and is seeing the beginning components of the next space program: Orion and SLS which would take astronauts to the Mon, Mars and beyond.
What is your dream job? Is it reachable or something made up?