Thursday, January 20, 2011

#16 - See a Space Shuttle Launch (Getting Closer)

If you have checked out my life list, you will see that watching a space shuttle launch is one of the things on there. Number 16 to be exact. This is one of those items that can't wait much longer, as the space shuttle program is winding down. There are two scheduled launches pending. STS-133, which will be Discovery's last mission and then STS-134 for Endeavour.  My current motto is "STS-134 or bust".

Last week we booked our plane tickets to Orlando. Kennedy Space Center ... here we come. We are planning at least a week in Florida to give ourselves some cushion in case there are launch delays. We are putting our freebie Southwest tickets to use, so even if the launch is ditched before we leave California, we can reschedule fairly easily. (Incidentally, while getting the links to add to this blog post, I found out that STS-134 has already been pushed out to April 19. Looks like our first reschedule of tickets is going to happen straightaway!)

So, why is this on my list? As a kid, the space shuttle captivated me. The photos of the teams in their jump suits and space helmet, so proud and color coordinated! These people having the opportunity to see the earth from space ...  in my mind, it teetered on that fine line between  amazing and unbelievable.

I particularly remember the Challenger mission, when a teacher was scheduled to go up on a flight. All the excitement leading up to the launch, there was quite a buzz among us students. I remember thinking which of my teachers I would want to send to space (for either good or bad reasons), Ms. Von Uhlit? Mr. Demming? I still recall the details of how I learned about the Challenger disaster. It was 8th grade and I was in Mr. Christman's math class. Sometime during class, another student walked into the class room and handed him a small slip of paper. He read it to himself and then looked at us. He solemnly informed us that the Challenger had exploded shortly after take off and that we would all have a moment of silence. Until 9/11, I thought that was the "Kennedy Assassination" moment of my generation.

So, needles to say, I am pretty giddy about this. Even if we do not get a lottery seat at the Space Center, even if we are 10 miles away, across the water, with thousands of other people to witness this event, even if I have to stay up until 3AM ... I am all in and I can't wait!

What's on your list? What steps are you doing to make one of your "I want to do that someday" items completed?


ecatzippy said...

If you can I would try to get a tour company ticket. It seems like they send a boatload of tickets to the tour companies and leave everyone else to scramble in the lottery. We had great luck with Dolphin Tours. We are not generally comfortable with organized tours but it made it all much easier and we had great seats. We had lottery seats at the Space Center but the tour seats were much much closer with a direct view. To make sure they get a seat some people do the lottery, buy the tour tickets, and sell the one they don't use at face value. Anyway you end up doing it, you will have a fabulous experience.

Sophia said...

Thanks ecat! I just emailed Dolphin Tours to see what they have lined up for STS-134. I didn't see anything on their webpage. I am willing to try this from any angle possible ... just as long as I can see it!

Freedom said...

I've seen several launches, and they are always spectacular. My favorite part about it is seeing it lift off and not hearing the sound until several seconds later. It's always amazed me to have a sense of how fast sounds travels.