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Elegy to the last days of American spaceflight




In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Flight controllers on sit behind their consoles in shuttle flight control room (WFCR) at the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center before the launch of NASA space shuttle Atlantis July 08, 2011 in Houston, Texas.
In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Flight controllers on sit behind their consoles in shuttle flight control room (WFCR) at the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center before the launch of NASA space shuttle Atlantis July 08, 2011 in Houston, Texas.
NASA/Getty Images

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In July of 1969 U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, declaring in his famous words "this is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

From that day on Americans have had a  national fascination with space exploration and the race to be the first.  In “Leaving Orbit: Notes From the Last Days of American Spaceflight” author Margaret Lazarus Dean examines NASA’s history, disasters, and her experiences from Florida's Cape Canaveral where she witnessed NASA’s last three space shuttle launches. Dean joins us to discuss what it means when a spacefaring nation no longer goes to space.  

Guest:

Margaret Lazarus Dean, author of “Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight” (Graywolf Press, 2015) and an associate professor in English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville