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Loss of space program a shame
Letter to editor
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Dear editor: Hearing about NASA shutting the door on outer-space travel really made me angry. It’s such a shame to shut down.
I was a young 20-year-old Air Force airman stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. It was then home of NASA, but now the CIA lives in the building. I was honored to be selected to become an aircraft crew chief for three astronauts on the Mercury project, Navy commanders Alan Sheppard, Scot Carpenter and Air Force Capt. Gordon Cooper. Two years they trained, studied and flew test missions, then Alan Sheppard got to take the first rocket ride down the test range.
NASA then moved to Houston, Texas. I was offered a job with NASA, but I stayed in the Air Force for 20 years. All the training going into the unknown – risking their lives. Several of the first 12 did die. Now, all of this is over.
America spent a lot of money and lives on space travel. There is a lot to learn about the unknown – we are giving up too soon. If President Kennedy was still our president, this wouldn’t have happened.
America should give thanks to all those thousands of employees, astronauts and engineers for their hard work. I’m so honored to have played a part in space travel, even if it was a small part.

Bill Helms
Commander, American Legion Post 27
Richmond Hill

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