Space Flight is Just the Beginning

Eight weeks ago I was at Space Park in Titusville, FL watching the final Space Shuttle take flight across the Indian River at Cape Canaveral. 900,000 people descended upon Brevard County to witness this piece of history. I scoff at the concept of a lifetime bucket list but if I had one this event would have been in it.

30 years ago the first shuttle took to the skies using technology developed in the 1970’s. This year’s launch obviously used much advanced technology, from engine design to navigation and communications. I brought my iPhone to the event to capture the moment and at the same time I had a NASA app opened up to follow the launch count-down in real time. NASA fed the data to several million people around the world, many like me viewing it on their mobile phones.

Even now, you can see updated information from NASA with some of the latest developments at

Despite the launch being a spectacular event, the most memorable image I have is of the hundreds of thousands of spectators holding smartphones up to record the event on their cameras. And the very next thing that happened after the space shuttle disappeared into the clouds? The sound of the rocket blast swept over the hundreds of thousands of people as they texted and emailed that image and video to their friends and uploaded to social media sites.

This kind of communication has become the norm in our lives, we expect the mobile networks to function, even when 100,000 of our closest friends are all using it at the same time.

How much of the day’s activities relied on mobile communications devices? You could monitor the countdown in real time, view live television coverage, communicate with friends and family all across a cellular network. How many people used the smartphone GPS to get the viewing site?  The list is quite long.

I can only imagine the technology changes we will see 30 years from now, with the migration of data to distributed “Cloud” services and faster mobile networks. I imagine uploading images to a social web site will seem so passé in just a few, short years.

Here’s to the future and another 30 years of phenomenal technological advances. I hope to be fortunate enough to be working in new product development within the communications industry and hope to make significant contributions to these exciting times!

What are your most vivid memories of the Space Shuttle and other Space Program milestones thus far? Let’s share our experiences here as we use another technology (Blogging) to reach out. We look forward to your comments.
Michael McDermott Lead Product Marketing Manager AT&T About Michael