Thursday, December 14, 2006

and now for something completely different

Last week, my aunt and uncle saw their first Shuttle launch up close and personal in Florida. My uncle happened to make a movie of it, and since shuttle launches are such a huge part of my memories of growing up in Titusville, right across the river from the launch pads, I asked them if they'd mind me posting the video here so I can share it with you.

The woman you hear on the video is seeing her first launch as well, and her excitement is clear. It may seem silly to yell "Go baby!" at a huge rocket hurtling itself into space, but even the most cynical observers can't help but get caught up in the excitement. I saw dozens of these launches growing up, and even in my most aloof teenage years, there was a part of my yelling "Go baby!" at the shuttle, at least on the inside.

This may be because I saw the Challenger blow up before my eyes on my way to math class in seventh grade.

Here is your shuttle goodness!

My top three memories of the shuttle:

1. Walking home from the school bus stop and looking up to see the shuttle riding "piggy-back" on a 747 on its way back to Kennedy Space Center. This was back before the shuttle landed at Kennedy Space Center - it landed in California and hitched a ride home. I must have been seven or eight years old at the time.

2. When the shuttle reenters the Earth's orbit, it breaks the sound barrier, resulting in a sonic boom, which sounds like a rifle report. During one the early shuttle landings in Florida, when a shuttle landing was big enough news to interrupt afternoon programming, I stood in my living room (ready to run outside to see the shuttle, of course!) while the tv ran live feeds from Orlando and the Space Center. Because the sonic booms takes a little while to travel, I heard it three times: first in Orlando via the tv, then from over my house and finally at the Space Center on tv!

3. By the time I was in high school, night launches were so old hat that I would wake up in the middle of the night to windows rattling and the sound of a freight train going through the house, and my reaction was "meh, shuttle launch" and I went right back to sleep!

OK, geek time is over, back to work!

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