It's been 30 years since Columbia lifted off. I barely remember the launch, although as a space buff from the time I was six-years-old, there is no doubt I was excited beyond words.
What I do remember is seeing the space shuttle touch down and being speechless watching the sight of a space craft/airplane not only orbiting the earth but returning safely.
Sadly, Columbia would not "live" to retire or make a final flight in this history-ending summer. During the 28th mission, the shuttle broke up on entry in 2003 and took 7 souls on one final journey.
Only time will tell where the next chapter in space exploration will take us.