This is the fifth time we spend holidays together since December 2007 - some of us with families, some of us with friends, and some very lucky ones, in Space.
2011 has been an eventful year for NASA: the retirement of the STS program amid public and political controversy which hasn't gone unnoticed in this forum, the search for new challenges, and finally settling for the development of the Heavy Lifter which may one day take humans beyond the Moon orbit, to one of our solar system neighbors.
2011 has also seen the kick-off of a commercial space race, with companies developing platforms designed to take humans to the ISS, and eying the possibility of inter-planetary travel. It is inevitable that eventually, at least one of these first commercial endeavours becomes successful. We are witnessing the birth of the "mainstream space travel", just like a bit more than a half a century ago, our grandparents have witnessed the birth of mainstream aviation. Now many of us here may well become the grandparents of the future passengers or even pilots or commanders of such flights. Amazing!
Meanwhile, at Exciting Simulations we are working hard to bring you the next major version of our Space Shuttle Mission Simulator and allow all of us to get as close and affordable as humanly possible to what only a handful of humans have been experiencing for the last 30 years of STS program. If the Alpha I see is any indication, SSMS2 will definitely honor the STS legacy, will provide new insights into the STS program, an even more immersive experience, more challenges, more excitement, and hopefully will inspire a new generation of Astronauts.
For all this, we have to thank all of you for being with us, for your continuous support and for offering suggestions, ideas and nagging for an even better product. Keep the comms coming!
So Happy Holidays to all of us, and stay tuned for new sneak peeks along the SSMS2 development path. We hope to come with more of them soon
//The SSMS2 Ground Crew//
"we make the Shuttle, you fly it"