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Turning the Page to the Next Chapter of Human Spaceflight - Part 3

From the blog post:

The International Space Station is an important part of the Space Shuttle program legacy. It is a shining example of international cooperation, and a stepping-stone to human exploration beyond low earth orbit. Significantly, it will help improve life on Earth through the research being conducted onboard.… See the full post.

Thank you for sharing this Ron. I brought a tear to my eye as I heard (in my mind) the rining of the bell. But, I remain up beat about the future of the US Space program and the emerging commercial space industry. US manned spaceflight is not over. We have a Space Station that needs crew members. As long as we get you there and back safely, the launch vehicle type or origin is less important. Safety and reliability first. Thanks again for sharing. I hope we can meet at a #NASATweetup when you return to our Fragile Oasis.

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Thank you Aaron for forwarding this post to me. I read it with a lot of pride. I'm 57 and have watched our astronauts through Gemini, Apollo, and now the Space Shuttle. It's sad to see it go, but firmly believe today's kids will have the opportunities we all had to watch human space flight. Thanks you Ron, for all the tweets and pics you send us. It's been a good ride! We'll be watching for our next generation of American astronauts.

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Thank you, Ron. Good stuff. Last Monday I had many tears in my eyes as I watched the shuttle crew say goodbye to the station crew. Then as they undocked very early the next morning I had tears again. You and Fergie shared some great words and for those I thank you. I was in fourth grade in 1981 when that first shuttle was shot off the earth. As I recall the whole school gathered around a small TV and watched it live. I just wish I would have been told then that that could be me some day. I WILL do my part to tell today's youngsters that that can be them.

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Unfortunately, in today’s environment you must fiscally justify the program. Fortunately the Space Programs has generated so much expertise that has propelled the United States to a leader in technology. You are in the unique situation, Ron, of being an astronaut right when a huge technological advance is being retired. You can tell us the story of the advances the Shuttle has given the world with the United States being the developer and major benefactor of these triumphs. Then, you can talk about the advances the ISS is making as well as the Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. Then pose the question, does the United States want to miss out on these future technology advances? Knowledge is power and explaining these advances will power our space program…again.

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Thank you Ron for such an eloquent documentation of one of the most proud yet saddest moments I can remember in my lifetime as I was watching on NASA TV. I grew up watching manned space flight from its very beginning and I believe this has always been an extremely important part of our American heritage. I will really miss seeing the Space Shuttles flying in all of their glory, and it is heartbreaking to see such amazing vehicles with so much to offer getting mothballed. I think this could have been less painful if there had been better planning on the part of the people who control the purse strings for NASA so that we would have had a replacement vehicle in place already, as apparently was the initial intention. It is really sad to see all the extremely talented US scientists losing their jobs now. I pray for them and for their families. It is a comfort that you and Mike Fossum are still up there making us proud to be Americans. I really admire the work that you do, and I am very grateful that you and NASA continue to invite us into your experience up there. You are an inspiration and a true light in our world. I appreciate the encouragement your blog gives us. It is important to not get bogged down in the negative but to stay focused on the action we can take to do something about our circumstances to try to make the world a better place. Certainly all of the science that you are doing up there is doing just that! I hope we will see more "Cupola Corner" episodes soon! Bless you.

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Such a wonderful post Ron, thank you for sharing. It is sad to think that the shuttle programme is now ended, but there's so much to be proud of from the programme, so much to build the next stage of manned spaceflight on. I now have a baby niece, and I'm looking forward so much to sharing the wonder of space with her, looking forward to her first sighting of the ISS orbiting overhead and showing her how much humans are capable of when we work together and give our best.

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Thank you for sharing this with us Ron. I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like to perform all of those oh-so-final "last time" events, small in and of themselves but with so much meaning to each... I thank you for giving us some insight as to not only what was going through your mind but also what was in your heart. It's a strange time, this transitionary period, but I have faith that the US will be back in the game in no time. Thanks for all you do. My best to you and all the Expedition crew members high above us. I try to spot you in the sky whenever you a flying over my location in Dallas. Give us a wave next time!

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Ronnie, what an a mazing blog...I am so proud of you and of our great nation. It must be very difficult but also an incredible feeling of accomplishment to be performing these remarkable events for the very last time. Your actions inspire me and will inspire many for years to come. I can understand the emotion you express but I'm with JPMajor, "I have faith that the US will be back in the game in no time". So glad I found your blog and look forward to living each moment with you. Praying for you, B2

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