Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our First and Last Space Shuttle launch... Atlantis

This little whim really was unplanned. July 7th, the day before the Space Shuttle Atlantis was scheduled to leave earth we sat around going back and forth on if we should go or not. If we do go should we spend the night or take a chance and go early the next morning. We were finally convinced to go by George, Blake's dad. George has been around since the space program started, he has been apart of the excitement since July 20th, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon. NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981. How could we not go and experience the end of this 30 year program?

There was up to a million people expected to attend. So we decied to pack up our tent, take a chance and drive to the Space Coast. Neither of us had even gone to a shuttle launch. We had seen them in various locations, school, driving and from Sea World once... but we wanted to really go see the space shuttle take off, we wanted to feel, hear and experience the whole thing.  
We did not know where the best place to view the launch would be, but who could go wrong at Space View Park... it's all in the name. The park is located directly across the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center. When we arrived at the park there was already crowds of people. Some in tents, others just in a chair and umbrella, planing to stay the whole night that way. But one thing we were not expecting was how far and wide people drove and flew to see the space shuttle. We met people from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, California, the Carolinas and as far as Washington. 
It was a very rainy day and night but that did not stop people from coming ( I mean we went). 
We tried to sleep but the excitement was everywhere.
Our view of Atlantis that morning.
 A photo from the news of Atlantis that morning.
And how could we sleep when the live broadcast of the launch from NASA was right outside our tent? They showed each process in which the astronauts have to go through before take off. I learned a lot.   
Tents had to be down at 7am (except the news tent) so we packed up and moved to the seats we had set up the night before right on the bridge, which was one of the best spots because you could only fit so many people there. We did not have to worry about others getting in frout of us. 
Even with the threat of a reschedule because of the cloudy sky, people kept filling the park till there was almost no more room.
That did not stop people, soon crowds moved into the water.
some where even prepared with swim suits. 
  406 bridge was even closed to cars so crowds of people could watch from there, which as well was filled to the max.
Then on July 8, 2011 at 11:29 a.m. Atlantis took off into the same clouds that almost 
disrupted the final flight of the U.S. space shuttle program.
A photo from the new of the take off. 

And we were very gland we took a chance, stayed up most of the night and saw the last space shuttle launch.