RETURN TO FLIGHT
The dream is alive and the celebration is on!
Phoenix 13-10-25 is the tenth annual simulated fifth grade mission at the Columbus Magnet School since missions began in 1996. In addition to celebrating ten years of missions, this year’s corps of astronauts and mission controllers is commemorating 25 years of Columbus as a magnet school.
On a more somber note, this year’s flight marks the return to space of America ’s shuttle fleet after the tragic loss of Columbia on February 1, 2003. America ’s space program has suffered setbacks in the past – the Apollo 1 fire, the near disaster of Apollo 13, the explosion of the shuttle Challenger just 73 seconds after liftoff, and, most recently, the disintegration of Columbia as it re-entered earth’s atmosphere. But America was founded by people who saw obstacles as opportunities, and space misfortunes have always been an occasion for the United States to once again take its rightful place as a leader in science, technology, and exploration.
The name Phoenix was chosen to honor those fallen astronauts and to prove that America and its people are resilient and quick to recover from any misfortunes that might befall us. Like the Phoenix of mythology, which, when consumed by fire, rises, renewed, from its own ashes, America ’s space agency will also rise and fly again. It is no small coincidence that Columbus ’ tenth anniversary flight launches the same month that NASA propels the shuttle, Discovery, back into orbit.
This year’s group of five astronauts and eight mission controllers chose to name their mission, and their shuttle, Phoenix , in order to pay tribute to the professional men and women of NASA, who worked diligently to return the United States to the heavens in light of the fall of Columbia . In honoring Columbia , these youngsters also chose to celebrate the future by acknowledging the 13 who make up their team of Columbus Young Astronauts. They worked just as diligently to make the 2005 CMS mission a success as NASA has with Discovery. It is from today’s resourceful and dedicated youth that America will surely continue to be strong in the future.
Sir Isaac Newton, when asked by his contemporary, Robert Hooke, the source of his genius, replied, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The same can be said for this year’s Young Astronauts; for if it weren’t for the nine missions that preceded them starting with 1996’s Cooperation 7 up until last year’s Century Mission 2004, Phoenix 13-10-25 would only be a dream. In the same vein, if it weren’t for the preceding 24 years of Columbus as a magnet school in the Bank Street method, this year’s astronauts would never had had the opportunity to chase their dreams.
On May 5, 2005, Phoenix 13-10-25 will continue the dream as CMS celebrates America ’s return to flight. Once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.