| I have painted the Space Shuttle
Discovery with its main engines and solid rocket boosters powering it
toward Earth orbit. This flight, scheduled for the summer of 1988, will
signal the return of the Space Shuttle to flight status. It will get
American astronauts back into the business of flying in space. No
American has flown in space since the explosion of the Space Shuttle
Challenger little more than one minute after lift-off on January 28,
1986. The explosion resulted in the deaths of seven brave Americans,
five of whom were professional astronauts and friends I had worked with
during my last years as an astronaut. President Reagan remarked, "The
future is not free. The story of all human progress is one of struggle
against all odds. Today the frontier is space and the boundaries of
human knowledge. Sometimes when we reach for the stars, we fall short.
But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain."
Frederick (Rick) Hauck is the Commander of Discovery, and as such, is
charged with leading the crew that will "pick up the pieces". Rick has
not forgotten, "We all went through a terrible trauma we won't
forget...we are looking forward to carrying on where they left off."
I talked with Rick while I was working on this painting and asked for
his thoughts. He was quiet for a few moments, then said, "The hopes and
dreams of the American people for the future of the United States
manned space program will be riding with us when we lift off."