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Final Shuttle Launch A Blast For Planetarium Crowd

Brett Blume
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7/8/11-A large crowd gathered under the dome of the McDonnell Planetarium to witness the final space shuttle launch. The crowd counted down the final 10 seconds and cheered as Atlantis cleared the launch pad. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

7/8/11-A large crowd gathered under the dome of the McDonnell Planetarium to witness the final space shuttle launch. The crowd counted down the final 10 seconds and cheered as Atlantis cleared the launch pad. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  “Awesome!”

That’s was 10-year-old Kevin Dalton’s one-word review moments after watching the lift-off of the space shuttle Atlantis along with hundreds of strangers at the McDonnell Planetarium Friday morning.

But he’s not happy that it’s all coming to an end.

“I think that they should actually keep the shuttles going, ’cause it’s been like a big success,” Kevin opined.  “So I think they should keep doing that.”

If NASA ever does venture back into space, he wouldn’t mind going along for the ride as an astronaut.

“He’s been an astronomy fanatic since he was two,” said Kevin’s mother, Melissa Dalton.

“I’ve been really interested in how things work, how stars are formed, how they make the rockets…that kind of stuff,” Kevin added.

For an expert perspective KMOX turned to David Ritchey, associate director of the McDonnell Planetarium.

He says the space shuttle program has more than fulfilled its 30-year mission and ushered in important technological advances.

“For every dollar that we spend on NASA we get like eight dollars in return,” Ritchey said.  “Everybody that uses a cell phone, say ‘thank you’ to NASA.”

Another keenly interested observer Friday was Christian Hadley, age 7.

Like Kevin Dalton, Christian was also inspired after witnessing his first shuttle take-off as it was broadcast on the spacious dome at the Planetarium.

His dreams of being an astronaut someday are oddly specific.

“I’d like to go to one of the alien planets, the purple planets,” Christian explained.

But he really doesn’t need to go that far to get the full outer-space experience.

“I would like to go on the moon, sit and eat ice cream.”

Copyright KMOX Radio

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