Lift Off! Space Shuttle Atlantis...

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, November 16, 2009

We realized late last evening that the Space Shuttle Atlantis was set to launch from Kennedy Space Center this afternoon, so I did some quick internet research to find out where we could go to watch the launch without having reservations or expensive tour tickets.

Found out that the view is supposed to be great from the town of Titusville, which is right across from the launch pads, so we packed up a lunch and took off before noon.  It was about a 2 hour drive, but it was a great day, so we had the top down and just enjoyed!

Titusville was packed, but we kept driving by the lots with $20 Parking signs (obviously we weren't the only people who'd heard about watching the launches from this sight), and finally came to an empty parking lot with a "For Sale" sign in front of the building.  There was still one salon business operating there, and the owner came out and asked that we park in back instead of in front, but it was empty, secure, and right across the street from a McDonald's, which backed onto the shoreline, right across from Launch Pad 39A.  We brought our bag chairs and our lunches across the street, set the chairs up right by the back exit driveway of McDonald's, and had a perfect, although distant (~12 miles) view across the water, between the palm trees, for the launch.   It was quite a party atmosphere, but our spot was on a slight rise, so our view was great!  We enjoyed our lunch, read our books, and waited for the countdown at 3:30 pm.

We were NOT disappointed...we could see it from lift off and far up into the sky - and the sound, which didn't come until quite a bit after lift-off, was mind-blowing!  It gave us chills, and brought me to tears - what an amazing thing to experience!  We watched much of the coverage on the NASA channel for this mission, with a higher level of interest, having been there from the start.  Some of the pictures I'll upload are pictures I took of the TV coverage of the landing...I did look and listen for the re-entry in the sky here, but didn't see or hear anything.
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