Shuttle Launch

I caught the space shuttle launch live on the news today and it’s a mighty impressive sight, watching live on the cameras as the Earth pulls away into the background. It’s such a crazy thing to watch, everything seems to be so close to the edge between control and disaster.
It’s a bit emotional to watch the launch live because you never know if you’re going to see something amazing or horrific. I still remember vividly being a small kid, home sick from school watching the Price is Right when the news cut in to announce the Challenger disaster. I also remember just as clearly being in the middle of a masters swimming set in Mountain View when someone ran over and told us that the Columbia had broken up. These events really stuck with me for some reason.
I have to wonder if the space shuttle is the best way to go about getting people into space these days. It just seems so complex, and I wonder if NASA truly had the ability to take a second look at space exploration if they would choose the same route with modern technology available. That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited to see things like Scaled Composites with Burt Rutan making their own attempts at space flight.