Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Good Cause

I love my job. I can’t think of another job I’d rather be at, or another work I’d rather be involved in. I feel like it’s a good cause. I feel like maybe something I’m going to do today will make a difference to somebody, somewhere. It is fulfilling.

But I want to talk for just a minute about another good cause. One that also inspires me, and it’s one that my father has devoted his life to.

My dad arrived at Thiokol in 1979. A few months later his company delivered the solid rocket booster motors to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Two years later those same rockets took the space shuttle on its first flight into outer space. That’s right, my dad’s a rocket scientist. Those twin blazing infernos pictured above are what he works on, every day.

He has been with that company for every single launch of the space shuttle. He designs the instruments that ensure the motor is functioning properly. This last week he was asked to go to Florida as a special guest to witness the latest launch. Last night, we stood on my parent’s deck and watched the international space station move steadily across the Northern sky. It was visible because even though the ground was covered in darkness, 200 miles above the space station was still in sunlight. The grandchildren were amazed that Grandpa had built the rockets, watched the rockets go up, and that now the space shuttle was attached to that pin point of light, hundreds of miles above their heads.

There has always been something inspiring about explorers–the act of doing something that has never been done before. And while the era of terrestrial explorers is winding down, space still is wide open. There is so much still left to the unknown.

My dad still works at Thiokol, and is currently working on the next generation shuttle system. He was at the birth of one program, and is now serving as a midwife to the next one.

My dad is an inspiration to me, in this way, and so many others. So, to my dad, and Dad’s everywhere…Happy Fathers Day.

1 comment:

Titus Todd said...

Cool! During my mission I served for 4 months in Brigham City where I got to meet some Thiokol employees and gave the discussions to one.

My grandparents (actually my grandmother and step-grandfather) met as employees of Rockwell International both working on the Shuttle program at the time. My grandfather (though he was a "step", he was the only grandfather I ever knew on my dad's side and he was a good one) had worked on both the Apollo and Shuttle programs as a computer engineer. I enjoyed talking to him about his work. I always wanted to go to one of the launches but didn't get a chance before he retired and then passed away due to complications during heart surgery a few years later.