We stayed in Titusville an extra 10 days last spring in order to see a shuttle launch. With the winding down of the peopled space program, we figured we would never get another chance to see human beings hurling into the ultimate adventure of our time. Grab life as it comes, right??! Wel-l-l… fortune shone twice on us, at least as far as seeing a shuttle launch goes. Sojourner’s winter home is very near Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, and NASA scheduled the Endeavor for the last NIGHT TIME shuttle launch very early on a winter Sunday morning. We could see it!
It was cold and windy on Saturday, February 7th, and we were very glad we had decided not to move Sojourner to a nearby anchorage from which to view the launch. In our cozy cabin, we set several alarms for 4:00 am, prepared the coffee pot and snuggled down for an early night’s sleep- The alarms rang, the coffee perked and we struggled to dress with every warm piece of clothing we own before heading for the second floor marina office for a totally unrestricted view of this historic event. The last thing, we checked the NASA website: 15 minutes and counting; so, out we went , joining about a dozen other adventuresome souls braving the wind, cold and dark! Then, something like 4 minutes before blast off, NASA scuttled the launch!! Too much cloud cover down range…!! Were we ever disappointed… in addition to being cold and wide awake at 4:40 am!!!
NASA rescheduled the launch for the next morning, Monday, at 4:14 am and we debated long and hard about staying over to see it. It would surely the last opportunity to see a shuttle launch in the dark, but much work awaited us in Orlando… to go?? to stay?? will it really launch or will we stay only to be disappointed again?? Needless to say, adventure won out over work (surprise, surprise!!) and once again we prepared for a very early morning rising. This time, no coffee (we could sleep 10 minutes longer) and no fooling around with the cameras: we’ll simply experience the launch and trust others (aka NASA) to provide pictures. And that’s what we did…almost!
WOW!! What a sight!! The raw power…. the majesty… the blinding bright light… Indescribable!! We did not experience the heavy ground shaking and deep-in-the-earth-sounding rumble that accompanied the Titusville launch… we think both headed north (toward Titusville) as the shuttle tracked southward and we stood to the south east of it all…. No matter, it was incredible nonetheless!
Susan actually tried to take a couple pictures (see one above) and obtained better results than at Titusville, but the best pictures are those available via the NASA website, and they are so acknowledged below: