“I don’t want the Taco Bell International Space Station. I think it goes against what the public perceives the space station is supposed to be like.” — a quote from Erin MacDonald, an engineer for Engility’s Space and Mission Systems Group, during a panel on space sponsorship at the 34th Space Symposium, Space News reports. Over my headset, I hear the flight controller counting down on the launch live stream. “T-minus five minutes to liftoff.” I don’t think my heart has ever pounded this hard. I’m strapped into a seat inside one of SpaceX’s SpriteDragon™ capsules, sitting on top of a Pepsi™ Falcon 9 rocket. And I’m just 300 seconds away from my first trip to space. With every second that ticks away, my nerves send an electric shock throughout my body. I’ve never been more exhilarated or more petrified. “T-minus two minutes to liftoff.” I think of my mother and father, just a few miles away on the Florida Depends™ causeway watching the launch from afar. I know that their fear is probably greater than my own this morning. I say a silent prayer for a safe flight just so that we all may be reunited again. Then, the host counts down: five, four, three, two… one. The engines ignite. My body is slammed against the back of my seat, along with the three other crew members sitting next to me. We climb into the sky, the rocket piercing its way through the small clouds above. It’s like no… [Read full story]
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