Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hi....You are the first tourists to visit this place!

        Eighty five years ago on March 16, space history was created when Robert Goddard launched the first liquid propellant rocket at Auburn in Massachesetts.

       To ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' it is something personal. The reason? The story follows.

       In the summer of 1995, ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' and with its wife, Usha, went on a two-month tour of the US. It was a visit which took us to a number of places, and among them were two Nasa centres---the Kennedy Space Centre and the Johnson Space Centre.

       We were staying with our family at a lovely town called Lexington in a beautiful house on 15 James St. Wonderful hosts who went out of their way to make our stay comfortable and a again a fantastic house. We hope to revist them again and of course take our daughter, Rimanika, with us. We hope it just does not just remain a dream.

       One day when BMM's brother-in-law, Kannan, inquired as to where it would like to visit, the reply came as a bit of a surprise to Kannan. Neither a shopping mall nor some conventional tourist attraction, but Auburn, the very spot where Goddard launched his liquid propellant rocket.

       Kannan paused and readily agreed--the rest of the folks had gone to see a film that day. We wondered how to get to Auburn. So typically of him, Kannan consulted maps and sort of zeroed down on the likely area. It was a lovely morning. and we drove out grabbing sandwiches and coffee on the way. On our way we inquired about Auburn, but did not get any specific or precise directions.

      Nothing to be surprised about because for some unexplained reason a country like the US which celebrates every important event, has somehow not thought of promoting this place. Strange, yes but it is true. Kannan was extremely patient and was hell bent on not disappointing me. A great guy and BMM is grateful to him.

      While finding our way around for this little known spot which has played an important role in world space history, Kannan decided to inquire with a gas station. We hit the mark. The guy managing this station guided us correctly. A short drive then took us to Auburn.

      BMM could not believe that it was at the very spot that space history had been created.

      We crossed the road and entered the area. We found that the historic launch zone had been turned into a golf club. At the very spot where Goddard had launched his liquid propellant rocket  people were enjoying playing golf!  Someone shouted across and inquired who we were. We replied that we had come to pay our respects to the area where the world's first liquid propellant rocket was launched.

     The guy greeted us saying that we were the first tourists to come to the place having important space connections. We exchanged pleasantries, waved to him and then left after a while. Kannan took a few shots of me standing next to the marker saying that the Goddard had launched the rocket from this very place!

    As we left the place, BMM collected a stone as a souvenir from the launch area. It always does this at places of interest.

    It was a definately memorable trip.

    Thank U Kannan..


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