Thursday, July 21, 2011

the space shuttle era has ended

The Atlantis Space Shuttle landed safely today at Kennedy Space Center. This was the finale to the very successful space shuttle program, retiring all space shuttles. This is sad to me because I dreamed as a little girl of rocketing into space someday aboard a space shuttle. The Challenger began my interest in space in 1985 and it continues as I follow NASA to see what is coming next. How will Americans get into space next? What will be our next NASA funded, human-carrying space vehicle? This is all still getting worked out. Rockets and spacecraft are still being designed and funding is hovering over them like a big cloud to see who will be awarded some money.

I am so satisfied that I got to witness the last space shuttle launch. And to top it off, I got to watch it with my two boys, sister-in-law, two nieces and one nephew. It was a complete pleasure with a few mishaps thrown in. The launch and the mishaps will never be forgotten. Stories will be told to our kids forever. They will never forget this trip because we will keep retelling it to them. It was one crazy adventure to drive over 3400 miles in 7 days. We had 3 days in Florida and we made the most of them. We went to the beach in the rain on day 1. Day 2 was spent waiting for the launch for 5 1/2 hours, watching the launch for 1 minute and sitting in 6 hours of traffic to go 45 miles. Day 3 was enjoyed at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. All 3 days were quite a blast! The highlight was definitely the space shuttle launch. The low light is a lengthy story involving lots of poop and 5 kids and being stuck in traffic.

I set out to enjoy the launch with my eyes, not through my camera lens but I did get a few pictures. Here are my favorites. Our group photo has the vertical cloud formation from the rocket exhaust to our left.

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