Short Story about a dying old man wanting to hear the neighborhood rocket launch one last time

artfritzson

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Sep 22, 2019
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I'm searching for a short story (from perhaps thirty or so years ago) that occurs in the room of a dying old man. The man has worked in a (lowly?) job but associated with the development (?) and launch of large rockets (to the moon perhaps). He has remained in the neighborhood where they are launched regularly. The wealthy family that built the business of launching these rockets also lives in the neighborhood near by and is having a loud party. The old man sends a message asking for quiet at launch time so he can enjoy the thunder of the launch one last time. The time arrives and the music dies down. Then a lone note introduces the sound of the launch - it was the family paying tribute to the old man. Other details, the man wanted to be wearing his boots when he died - his wife disapproved. He was also visited by a priest and reluctantly accepted last rites.

Yesterday I toured the Spacex facility at Boca Chica Texas. Seeing the large, half built Starship under construction, the water tower like Starhopper and talking to the people who live in the village there made me think of this story. My son (who was equally in awe of the sights) and I spoke about the future of the neighborhood there and I really want to share this story with him.
 
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Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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This does remind me vaguely of an episode of StarTrek TNG.
The Enterprise picks up a satellite from space. While examining the object it emits a beam which strikes Picard. He is either dead or unconscious.
As it turns out he is somehow captured in a virtual world and reliving the long life of an alien. The satellite is from a world where life is on the brink of extinction, due to the increasing heat of the sun. In a attempt not to be forgotten as a species they decide to launch a satellite which - when encountered - will tell their story.
This satellite is launched just as the person whose life Picard is reliving is dying.
 

artfritzson

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Sep 22, 2019
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I really appreciate the feedback and suggestions! Since I had also read a lot of Bradbury (back in the day), I was very hopeful about this. Alas, I have scanned the plot summaries of all of Bradbury's short stories and this one just doesn't seem to be there. I will keep looking though.

Thanks again for the help!
 
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