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It's a good moment in life when you actually get a do-over. In 1999, I spent the summer at the University of Florida at a science teacher program and one of our field trips was attending a shuttle launch. It was a several hour drive away but we were at that closest place you can be and it was the first mission with a woman commander. It was scheduled for ~12:30am, so exciting, the countdown is happening...and it aborted with 4 seconds to go. Talk about your launchus interuptus! We drive back to UF and the next night a bunch of us drove back. It was delayed a long time and finally scrubbed because of lightning. We drive back to UF. The next night a group goes back and I was just so exhausted by this point I didn't go. Of course it launched and everyone talked about how amazing it was. I know this sounds crazy but missing that launch has been an honest-to-god Regret in my life. My husband is working in Florida at the moment so I am spending the summer here and we are 90 minutes from the launch site. It's been my only goal this summer, to see the last launch. Well, I was there today and I saw it and I cried and cheered with the other million people there and I can strike that off my very short list of regrets. The weather could have cooperated more but what the heck, it was spectacular. I wish the pictures were better.


My husband who cannot stand crowds almost turned tail and ran at this point.




We got about a 30 second view and then it was lost in the clouds. Many hours of driving and waiting for 30 seconds? Hell yeah, it was worth it. ;D
 

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congrats!  there was a part of me that was hoping it would get delayed, I wanted the final lift off to be July 20th, but glad it want up today!
 

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I was watching live on TV on the NASA channel. Got a little tense there when they had to hold for a bit a T minus 31 seconds. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As we were walking back to the car, we heard someone talking about the delay.  We never knew about it.
 

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drenfrow said:
As we were walking back to the car, we heard someone talking about the delay. We never knew about it.
Apparently their instruments did not indicate that the "beanie cap" that extracts gasses from the top of the fuel tank had been fully retracted, so they had to orient some cameras on it to get a visual confirmation that it was safely moved out of the way, at which point they were able to restart the count-down. I don't think it was more than a minute delay, but when I heard the woman's voice saying something like "hold due to a failure", I thought the launch might well be postponed.
 

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Wow, I'm so jealous! I watched it online, of course, but it live must have been absolutely amazing. Nice pics! (that crowd is huuuuuge)
 

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That is so cool! I have always wanted to see a shuttle launch in person but we live on the other coast. Hubby and I spent two weeks in Cocoa Beach a couple of years ago and I was hoping for a launch then, but it got postponed. :( 
We settled for doing the Space Center VIP Tour, and were not disappointed. It's an amazing place!
 

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It's so intense right. My brother and I were in elementary school when dad took us to our first shuttle launch. It was when john Glenn went back up in the 90s.

So glad that you finally got to go

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk
 

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I'm sad. I meant to watch today but got sidetracked and forgot. It would have been nice to have seen it. Of course my most memorable memories of shuttle watching has been the Challenger and Colombia accidents. :(
 

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I have to admit that I'm jealous! I recorded the launch for posterity (until I need to reclaim the storage on my DVR). I've watched every launch, landing, and many parts in between (on tv, of course), and have never failed to be really moved by the experience. I still remember vividly the first launch and subsequent landing. Amazing! The disasters have been etched in my memory too, but I figure that at least the astronauts "went" doing what they loved. I doubt if a lot of us will be able to have that said about us.  (I won an official NASA commemorative crew patch in memory of the Challenger, and it's the main thing that I returned to my possibly-soon-to-be-flooded school to retrieve. I'll cherish it always.

Love your photos of today's launch. Thank you for sharing them with us!
 

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When we lived in Orlando in the 80's, at least once my almost-husband and I drove over to the coast the night before and were there for the launch first thing in the morning.

Also, any time a launch was happening in the middle of the day, we would listen on the radio (or watch on TV) in Orlando and, when it was announced that it had launched, we'd then go outside to see it a few minutes later. 
 

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Saw one launch--our view was similar to drenfrow's pics...I'll never forget the ground vibrating under our feet and the sound...

Thanks for posting!

(and Ann, "almost husband?" Someone you almost-married-but-didn't marry or hadn't quite yet? LOL!  ;D

Betsy
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
(and Ann, "almost husband?" Someone you almost-married-but-didn't marry or hadn't quite yet? LOL! ;D

Betsy
We were engaged. . .but not yet married. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Shellybean said:
Of course my most memorable memories of shuttle watching has been the Challenger and Colombia accidents. :(
I was a brand new teacher in 1986 and was substituting the day Challenger exploded. I was in the break room when a teacher rolled a TV into the room and turned it on and we watched in horror. (Oh those days when only TV and radio were the sources of instant news). When the Columbia disaster occurred, my husband, a wildland firefighter, spent three weeks in East Texas on the search detail. It was a massive operation. He met astronauts several times as they came to be a presence and say thank you to the searchers.
 

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drenfrow said:
I was a brand new teacher in 1986 and was substituting the day Challenger exploded. I was in the break room when a teacher rolled a TV into the room and turned it on and we watched in horror. (Oh those days when only TV and radio were the sources of instant news). When the Columbia disaster occurred, my husband, a wildland firefighter, spent three weeks in East Texas on the search detail. It was a massive operation. He met astronauts several times as they came to be a presence and say thank you to the searchers.
I was teaching 2nd grade when the Challenger exploded. We went to the cafeteria for lunch, and as I entered the room, one of our custodians said that the space shuttle with the teacher on it had just blown up. He was always giving us a hard time, and was rarely serious, so I thought that he was trying to be funny. (Of course, it wouldn't have been funny had he been joking, but it certainly wasn't funny when we realized that he was serious.) I was really shaken by the news, partly because Christa McAuliffe was aboard, and also because I've always been fascinated with space travel.

The day that the Columbia disaster occurred was the one Saturday that I had the tv on at that time, but wasn't watching the news. It was a couple of hours later when my mother-in-law called to share her feelings about it.
 
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