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Monday, February 1, 2010

Ride to see a shuttle launch

Having family in Orlando has given me great opportunities to witness three shuttle launches.  My brother-in-law has never seen one and he wants to watch one live & in person.  Sounds like a great idea for a road trip, so he and I are riding to Orlando in March to watch the launch scheduled for the 18th (Wife and son will fly in). Should be a great trip.

In July of 1999 my wife and watch our first launch.  It was a midnight launch of Columbia with the first woman shuttle commander, Eileen Collins, at the helm.  It was spectacular!   We viewed the launch from  Titusville, Florida.  I did not have a good camera so instead of posting one of my pictures here is a link to a night launch in 2008 filmed from Titusville.  This will give you an idea of the awesome sight - Link.  My son was 2 years old so he stayed home with Pappa & Grandma.

Our second launch was in the morning, July 2005.  We once again viewed it from Titusville.  Titusville is a good location because there is a lake between the launch pad and the town, so the view is unobstructed.  The day was perfect, the sun was up, and the launch went off without a hitch.  Once again my photos did not really do well, but I just created my first You Tube account and uploaded the video I shot of the launch - Link to video.   The photo is of the trail after the shuttle is out of sight.  My son was 8 and he watched this one with us.

The third launch we saw was once again in July, 2009.  This time instead of fighting the traffic we drove to Coco Beach and viewed the launch from the top level of the Coco Beach Surf Company parking garage.  We listened to the count down on the radio.  We could not see the launch pad, but we saw Endeavour as she cleared the buildings.  Even though the view was not as direct the pride of America still was evident by all the applause and cheers.

With the scheduled retirement of the current shuttle program individuals have only a few more opportunities to witness these historical events.  I highly recommend seeing a launch in person.  It is a sight you will not forget.

If you visit Orlando make sure to go by New York Pizza - 7800 U.S. 17, Fern Park, FL ((407) 830-8585.  These guys make a great pizza and awesome Italian food.  We eat there 2-3 times during the week of our visits.  This is a small shop and everything is fresh.  You will love it. 

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyable read! I rode down to watch a launch this past May; it was a trip and an experience I'll never forget. http://pseal.blogspot.com/2009/05/space-shuttle-launch.html

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  2. Oz, I am so jealous! You are very lucky to have seen 3 launches and a 4th on the way. I have wanted to see a shuttle launch for years. If I was in the US in March you would have somebody to ride with to see it, but alas, that is not possible.

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  3. I have been blessed. There is a shuttle launch July 29th. Check this site for more dates - http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html

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  4. July 29th - my birthday! Maybe I can make a birthday trip out of it and catch a launch - something I've always wanted to do as well.

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  5. Canajun, That would be a great birthday candle! It is worth the effort.

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  6. Try blowing that birthday candle out.....

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  7. Get some chosen members of our Congress down to Florida and bet with all that hot air they could blow it out. :)

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  8. A shuttle launch is a site to see. I went to school in Tampa, FL. On 28 Jan 1986, we watched the launch on TV and then walked out of the room to go to class. We saw the 'Y' in the sky, but thought nothing of it. After class everyone was talking about it blowing up. Gut wrenching.

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  9. I was in my first year of teaching. Students were watching the launch in the library. It was so shocking.
    I was so glad the USA was able to continue the program with so much success.

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