Not suprisingly, news that an American astronaut lifted off from Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in a Soyuz rocket along with two Russian cosmonauts was not given much publicity by our government.Would you tout the utter failure of the American government over two decades to plan for the day when the Shuttle had to be retired?
I can't get over the feeling that an era has passed when reading about our dependence on Russia - Russia! - to ferry our astronauts to orbit.
A Russian spacecraft carrying an American and two Russians blasted off Monday from the snow-covered Kazakh steppes in a faultless launch that eased anxiety about the future of U.S. and Russian space programs.
The Soyuz TMA-22 lifted off as scheduled at 8:14 a.m. (0414 GMT) from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome to carry NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin on a mission to the International Space Station.
The new crew are to arrive just in time to keep the orbiting station manned. The three crew members currently on board the station are set to return to Earth on Nov. 21. Another launch next month is to take the station back to its normal six-person crew mode.
The 39-year-old Shkaplerov and 42-year-old Ivanishin are making their first flights into space. Burbank, 50, who will take over command of the space station, is a veteran of 12-day shuttle missions in 2000 and 2006. The three men are to remain aboard the space station until March.
Shakespear is appropriate here:
"Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings".