Ex-astronaut: Time in space 'dreamlike'

2007-09-30T00:00:00Z Ex-astronaut: Time in space 'dreamlike'DREW KERR
Lee Enterprises
nwitimes.com
September 30, 2007 12:00 am  • 

Joe Allen was a self-described nerd majoring in math, science and physics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., when Sputnik went into orbit on Oct. 4, 1957.

Overnight, his interests no longer were considered so curious.

"It had a certain new importance given to it," the 70-year-old former NASA astronaut said. "Sputnik was recognized as a real giant in terms of technology, and it was made by a country thought to be technically backward.

"We needed our own."

A decade after the Soviet Union launched its satellite, Allen joined NASA as a scientist.

Later, he was selected to go through astronaut training, and in 1982 he made his first flight.

"As I say, it's an out of this world experience, quite literally," he said of his mission on Columbia, which marked the first time cargo was taken to space.

Between that trip, in which Allen launched two communications satellites into space, and another in 1984, Allen has spent almost three weeks of his life circling Earth.

It's an experience he shares with fewer than 500 others, and one he never dreamed possible before Sputnik was launched.

"It was a very dreamlike feeling," he said.

A half-century after Sputnik I, Allen said, he's disappointed that more astronauts haven't been trained.

He compared the space age with the evolution of air travel, which, within 50 years, went from calling the Wright brothers daredevils to commissioning throngs of pilots.

"Sadly, we're still called astronauts and cosmonauts," he said.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Should school boards restrict public comment at meetings?

View Results

National Video