Sunday, February 27, 2011
A Backyard Launch
Lift off was set for 4:50pm ET.
The plan was to drive as far as time and traffic would allow and when it was time for lift off we would pull over and watch from where ever we ended up. We were getting a late start and thought this was as good a plan as any. There's lots and lots of land here in Florida. The shoulder of every toll or state road we've been on is two lanes wide and unpaved and it's common to see people parked there. This is always a funny sight to me because where I am from there are only two reasons you'd park on the shoulder; either you're broken down or barfing. So when we were trying to figure out how to get closer to the shuttle launch, parking on the shoulder to watch seemed... reasonable.
The problem is my hard-working husband didn't get home till 4:40pm. I don't think we would have gotten far in 10 minutes. There was a small window of hope when the countdown was postponed due to a main computer failure but at the very last minute was fixed. So with seconds left on the clock I ran out to my backyard to look for who knows what.
And then, on the horizon, a bright orange capsule followed by plumes of grey smoke lifted into the sky. As it got higher the smoke turned to white. It climbed so quickly! With barely any visibility left, we could see the SRB's drop off. And then just like that it was over.
It was an awesome sight even from far away. I had been watching live coverage of the launch most of the day and one guy said, every single American should witness a launch. It's the best and most exciting tax money spent and there is a great sense of pride. After seeing, I believe it to be true.