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15 March 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery [More:]Sorry I don't have pictures. My battery was dead. Tonight we drove down to Titusville to see the launch. Around 5 o'clock I was driving home from the beach and my sister called and said, "Let's go see the shuttle!" We all drove down with the dogs. I couldn't believe we found a parking space. We got there around 10 minutes before it went up.

To jason's_planet: There is sound. I don't know how I forgot about the sound but there is rumbling once it's in the sky. You don't hear it until 5-10 seconds after the launch because it has to travel across the water. I guess I forgot about the sound because I usually watch it go up in my town. The last time I was in the Cape area was two years ago. I guess I forgot about the rumbling because all of the cheering.

Of course there were a million people there and it took us forever to get home. I'm glad we went, though. It was spectacular as usual and the kids love it.

Thanks for sharing the fun with us!
posted by jason's_planet 15 March | 22:11
The dusk/night launches are good for seeing the rocket boosters separate and fall. What amazes me is that the astronauts headed to the launch pad and buckled up at around 12 noon. They sit in there for over 7 hours upside down. After they run all their checks it must get pretty boring. :-)
posted by LoriFLA 15 March | 22:35
7 hours, that's amazing an one reason why I could never go into space. I'm so glad the launch went off okay, too. What a wonderful experience for you and the kids!
posted by MonkeyButter 15 March | 23:18
eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm so glad you got to see it!

My coworkers told me on the 11th that I should go watch the launch in the auditorium onsite, where they usually televise it. Of course after almost an entire day of getting antsy in the office that launch got scrubbed and we all went home sad.

So today I went onsite again and wondered why there were so few cars in the auditorium parking lot and why the place was totally dark when I went in, and then I talked to a bunch of people sitting in cubicles in the lobby who said it had been closed for the weekend. Turns out they were the public affairs office guys all camping in the auditorium building while their building was being renovated, so I hung out and watched their TVs with the official NASA feeds. If I can convince my manager to let me sit behind the consoles next launch (just to watch, since I probably still won't be certified), this might be the last time I see one on live TV.
posted by casarkos 16 March | 00:11
I saw a shuttle go once years ago, and I recall it being extremely bright. Did it seem that way to you? I may be misremembering.

When I was a kid, visiting relatives in Orlando, someone said the Saturn V launches were incredible. Wish I could have seen one of those.
posted by DarkForest 16 March | 00:22
Odd coincidence - This morning I was reading up on the Shuttles on Wikipedia (wasn't sure how many there were and which ones were still in use).*

I sure hope I get to see one before the project ends next year. We're hoping to make it to Florida next year so I'll have to keep the launch dates in mind when scheduling the trip.

The info about Orion, the follow-up program, was pretty interesting as well.

* There are/were six, one of which, Enterprise, never made it to outer space (and is now in the Smithsonian) and three still in use (Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour); Challenger and Columbia being, of course, the two that didn't make it home.
posted by deborah 16 March | 01:42
Yes, Darkforest. It is extremely bright. A very bright, burning torpedo.

I'm planning on driving down for every launch before the retirement of the program. For some reason I'm getting nostalgic and sad that it will be ending.

casarkos, I forget where you work, or maybe I never knew, but that sounds very cool.

I was on the verge of throwing a hissy fit when I discovered my battery was dead. I just bought a fancy, expensive battery. I used it for about 50 pics last week. I didn't think it would run out of charge so quickly. My husband has an annoying habit of not commiserating with me when minor things go wrong. He's just silent and it makes me want to kill!
posted by LoriFLA 16 March | 08:16
I was never much of an astronaut-sort-of-kid myself. I always wanted to be one of the white dudes in old-timey glasses sitting behind the consoles, running through the checklists. Recently, 'Dude has been trying to share some of his passions with me, like the history of spaceflight and such. We watched The Right Stuff and now we're working through From the Earth to the Moon.

I'd really like to see a shuttle before the program is scrapped, but I don't know when I'll have time. I visited Kennedy Space center back in 1999, and I got to see a shuttle (Atlantis, I think) in the highbay before being wheeled out to the pad, but that's it.
posted by muddgirl 16 March | 08:24
I started at JSC with the shuttle program in January - basically I'm training to sit at one of the consoles and send up commands to help operate the thing. Hopefully I'll get certified before the program ends so I can actually work a mission, instead of sitting in the office lonely and bored to death because all my coworkers are on duty (this is how it's going to be all week). It's been pretty neat so far - also pretty terrifying.

Open invitation to all bunnies: if you're ever in town, let me know in advance and I'll try to get you passes to go see the control rooms and stuff.

(manned spaceflight haters to the left)
posted by casarkos 16 March | 18:50
sit at one of the consoles and send up commands

Holy crap. That sounds like a dream job, doing anything with space flight. Congrats. Hope you do get a mission.
posted by DarkForest 16 March | 20:02
OMG casarkos! That is too cool. Good for you!
posted by LoriFLA 16 March | 20:02
Fried butter balls? || Whuffles please! I am worried about getting my rabbit neutered tomorrow.