As NASA's Super Guppy aircraft carrying a piece of the Orion rocket gets ready to depart for Kennedy Space Center, University of Mississippi alumnus David Hitt (BA 96), a strategist for payload engagement at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, can't help but marvel at his role in space exploration.
At the time of writing, 558 people have orbited the Earth. Approximately 10% of them have written books about the experience. Most of these books are not very good. The achievement does not redeem the writing, which is as formulaic as the checklists necessary for safe space travel. Awe is inspired, fears conquered, and dreams realized. But the best of these books explain with unmatched immediacy what it is to go to space and to safely return.
“The Space Age, the Rocket City, doesn’t so much change Huntsville, as it was just the next evolution of what was already going on," said David Hitt, the president of the Huntsville Madison County Historical Society.