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My husband and I decided to make the trip to see the final shuttle launch on July 8. We were encouraged to arrive “early” although we had no idea what that meant. So we left our house in Raleigh super early for the trip to FL. As an aside, I’m always amazing at how nicely the iPhone can take photos sometimes. Maybe my low expectations are the key, but these two snapshots are a lovely representation of our 1,300 mile round-trip journey.

roadtrip

We were excited to find a few empty areas left in Titusville’s Space View Park. This park is designed for shuttle launching as you can see on the map. For those without tickets, this is the place to be…and was it ever busy. You can see the park on the left and launch pad 39A on the right in this map.

map

I proudly pitched our tent in the rain as it got darker and we settled in for the night. At this point, I like to call this our “experiment in being grateful for what we have.” It was hot, humid, buggy, and loud. But we enjoyed a nice picnic and spent some time staring/squinting at the launch pad, which was illuminated for the night. It was so far away, this is the best I could get.

shuttle0

We wake before sunrise to the sound of very loud British accents. They seem to be setting their things almost on our tent and frantically setting up. It was very frustrating. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that we changed our tune immediately upon realizing that they were the BBC and setting up for their live TV and radio coverage. At one point, we are even asked for an interview on the radio by reporter Laura Trevelyan. We oblige after a little arm twisting and I’m really glad we did. Not sure if we never made it on the news though.

After that, it was a waiting game. The weather changed frequently and rumor had it that the launch was on…then off…then on. This went on for hours.

shuttle3

I’m pretty excited that the video from the day turned out pretty well! Here is our 2 minute account of the event, play by play, including the launch itself. Video editing is very new to me, so thanks for understanding.


Fast Tube by Casper

And one more time, here are those images of the shuttle as it lifts off. I’m sure there are better photos all over the internet by now (as the lady in the video mentions), but still. Enjoy!

shuttle2

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