Perhaps Backward And On Fire Would Be Easier.Posted: November 8, 2010
Remember re-entry? Back before spaceships had wings?
Back in the day, astronauts came back to earth by falling backward through the atmosphere. Their capsule would be engulfed in flames in the upper atmosphere, then there’d be a point where they’d deploy a parachute or three and slow down.
It wasn’t over even then. They’d fall into the ocean. Ideally, this would happen somewhere near the aircraft carrier they were aiming for so they could be rescued before they capsized.
Walter Cronkite used to portray the astronauts as cool and collected during this wild plunge. He made us think about them going about their business as their fireball streaked toward the ocean.
Walter never lied to us, and astronauts are made of something much more substantial than I am. Still, I can’t help but believe that there was a hell of a lot of screaming involved in the re-entry process.
Today I will begin my re-entry from vacation to the real world. There will be screaming.
I am somewhat soft-spoken, so I don’t think everyone will be able to hear the screaming. The sound will be disturbing to those who do hear it, so I want to issue a warning to the southeastern United States.
There will be a screaming sound emanating from a rental car in the Florida Keys this morning. The remainder of the region should expect screaming as I streak through the atmosphere from Miami airport toward Charlotte. The screaming may sound to some like terror, others may experience mournful wails.
Those astronauts were really special people. I’m not.
Backward, on fire and streaking toward the ocean looks pretty good.