3....2......1...... BLAST OFF....Cape Canaveral

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Saturday, November 15, 2008

We travelled down today along the east coast through the likes of Daytona; our destination being 'somewhere close' to the space station. We got a lot more than what we bargained for!

 We hit the jackpot today, as never before -  we saw first- hand, The Endeavour Space Shuttle launch. 
It's amazing how these things happen isn't it?  We had in our plans to get to Cape Canaveral, and depending on what time we got there, we'd try and do a tour of the Space Station.  Because it was 1.30pm when we got to our campsite, AND we had maintenance stuff to organize (like oil change with the local RV service place etc), we just thought we'd spend the afternoon by the pool.  

While we were doing that, (in between the swims) we looked up on the laptop, to see what time the Kennedy Space Station opens so we could plan a bit for tomorrow.  And as we did that, we realized it had been closed today (thank goodness we hadn't made it) in preparation for the launch tonight!  What launch??   Is there something we don't know?  YEP OBVIOUSLY ....... Now, we're excited!

As we got talking to the locals we found the best viewing place was a park, roughly 30 mins up the road, which we found easily.  And it appeared that everybody else was there too.  Ok, so maybe they all knew about it before us, but at least we'd made it.   In fact, we decided to go quite early.  The launch wasn't scheduled till 8.00pm, but the RV makes it easy, as we had an early dinner, and then headed out with pillows and blankets to wait with the throngs.   Now, I must say we've officially hit warm weather, hence our swim in the pool this afternoon.  So hanging out for a few hours, under the stars, while we wait for the launch wasn't a hardship.

Anyway, we were 12 miles away from the shuttle apparently, but we got a great view right across the river to the launching pad, and how can I put into words what we saw? 

There was a warm, tropical breeze blowing, excitement and anticipation among the crowd, the skies were clear that you could see the stars, and THEN....  at exactly 7.55pm, what seemed like the whole sky before us, lit up in the orange and yellow colours of fire.  It truly looked like the enormous sun had descended upon the earth.  It illuminated and glowed for miles and miles.    Then , out of the midst of that, there came a ball of light, (which I have to say looked like a UFO) which shot up into space, and all of a sudden you heard the thunderous roar of the engines, that in fact had started nearly a minute before ... such is the speed of light and sound.    

The two rockets that boosted the shuttle fell away (which I couldn't see where I was standing, but Tara got a great view).  Just for you info, the recovery boats started to retrieve those rockets from the ocean, nearly immediately, although the process is somewhat time consuming and dangerous. ... but that's another whole story.  
We were elated that we had a chance, on our lifetime, to experience such a thing as this.  And funnily enough, it was a launch that was supposed to have taken place in October, and for whatever reason, needed to be aborted.  So, there we were, amongst the crowds, oohing and aahhing, and extremely grateful that it was.

I know that I can't really explain to you what it was like to be there, and certainly no photo or video will ever be able to manifest the reality, but I really, really wanted to share this experience with you ..... it truly is, like no other.
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