The anti-shuttle launch day

The train ride to the airport was quick and easy. The flight was completely non-eventful. The hotel, while not exactly a place I’d like to live, is adequate. The company—Sparkles, Mountain Man, and The Tech Kids Trio—are fabulous. The shuttle launch was a complete, and utter failure.

We awoke at 5:30 this morning. I showered and then found Sparkles watching the Royal Wedding. I love the classic style of Princess Kate’s dress. We managed to see the whole ceremony, so the day was not really a total loss.

We arrived early at the Kennedy Space Center. We spent the morning touring around and killing time. At noon, we started getting antsy for the launch. We listened to an astronaut speak. Then I decided to stake out a spot for ourselves and my camera. We rested. The sun was coming out. It was starting to warm up. The clouds were breaking.

Then there was an announcement that the launch was delayed for 48 hours.

I didn’t realize it was possible to simultaneously break the spirit of half a million people.

We all knew there was a chance the flight wouldn’t go off, but we all thought it was because of the weather. I thought they might push it off until Saturday. But they pushed it off until Sunday.

Then they pushed it out until Monday.

So much disappointment. I am disappointed. But worse is having disappointed kids. Or to know that I convinced my brother to fly down to Orlando to spend a weekend with me for no apparent reason. Sigh. This is the price we pay for wanting to be a part of history.

But out of the darkness, we saw light. They had reopened the tours of NASA. We could go on base and hopefully get a view of the shuttle!

We rushed to get in line. And to experience more failure.

What came was disappointing. Over time, the line shrunk as people gave up. We chatted with the family in front of us who had press contacts and VIP passes and explained that we were delayed because of Mr. President’s visit. At a time when we thought that he most certainly must be gone, the Twitterverse talked of helicopters landing.

Sigh. If there is a theme for this trip, it is, “Hurry. Hurry. Wait. Wait.”

There was an original Tuskegee Airman ahead of us. He and his family finally gave up. At 88, he wasn’t getting any younger.

Two and a half hours later, we all boarded the bus. I was finally going to get to see the shuttle!

Well, sorta see the shuttle.

I appreciate that Mr. President took time out of his busy schedule to visit with the astronauts and Congresswoman Giffords, but by the time he left, we were nearing closing time, so instead of seeing two locations, we only saw one. Lucky for us, it was the building that houses the gigantic Saturn V rocket. The thing is a monstrosity.

At that location is the VIP stands where the families of the astronauts can watch the launch. So I expected to get some awesome pictures of the shuttle! But they weren’t as awesome as I had hoped.

Turns out that since the supporting structure had not been moved yet for the launch, we could just barely see the shuttle. Here is the photo I took of it. Can you see it?

How about now? See it yet?

Maybe you can see it now?

Well, that is the best I could get. Another fail. However, we did get to pet a moon rock, and see the biggest rocket ever launched. There is that. And don’t forget that I got to see the Royal Wedding on tv in the morning.

We made the day a little better when the kids played with a gigantic round stone on top of a layer of water and they could make it roll. And we ate dinner at Chipotle. Not exactly a win, but when you’ve been beaten down, you will take what you can get.

Now to decide what to do about the shuttle launch being moved to Monday.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Outside the building, we could look across the pond at the two launch pads. It’s a really nice view, but honestly, we couldn’t tell for certain which pad had the shuttle on it. OK, I’m pretty sure it was the right one. But the shuttle’s on the far side, and you really couldn’t tell what we were seeing. I hope one of Kelly’s shots has enough detail to pick it out. (Actually, they did.) […]

    Reply

  2. Adventure? Romance? A Jedi craves not these things. -Yoda

    Reply

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