Late-night adventures

“Hey, want to go watch the space shuttle launch?” This question usually leads to some sort of goofy adventure, and very rarely results in actually witnessing a shuttle launch. With the shuttle program slowly drawing to a close (only 8 remaining launches are scheduled) I figured I’d head over to the Cape to catch a rare Saturday-morning launch just after sunrise.

I loaded up the car shortly after midnight and hit the road, dodging the Friday night drunks. After the trip to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago I was thinking to myself that this was becoming a habit, packing up the car and leaving late on a Friday night after a quick catnap.

As I was nearing the end of an uneventful two-hour drive across the state I crossed I-95 and I noticed that most of the traffic heading west away from the Cape consisted of tour buses. Uh-oh. Check the iPhone and sure enough, the launch had been delayed.

I was so close to Titusville at that point that I figured I might as well continue on and scout out the area, in case I got the chance to head over for another launch. Even considering that it was 2:30 in the morning and a lot of people had already left, the coastline was pretty crowded. Lessons learned: You cannot arrive too early for a launch, and as always it’s a hit-or-miss affair. I took a few pictures of the sky and the floodlights that were illuminating the shuttle Endeavour on the pad. What the heck. I’d gone that far, the least I could do was take a picture of something.

No-go for Launch

If I had one gripe about the experience, it’s that NASA had scrubbed the launch just before I left the house, but it wasn’t announced on their website until about 2 hours later when I was arriving on the east coast. Maybe I should have checked NASA TV instead. Oh well. This was my fourth trip to the Cape to see a launch, and I’ve only seen one so far. Even so, seeing a launch that one time makes it all worth it. Hopefully I’ll catch one before the program ends.

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