Monday, July 11, 2011

Godspeed Atlantis

Wow!  I cannot even think about the last Space Shuttle launch without tearing up.  It was beautiful, incredible and so very worth it to see it in person.

We got up at 3:30 in the morning on Friday and were on the road by 4:00.  The traffic going there was not as bad as we had thought it would be.  Yet, even though we arrived 5.5 hours early, we had a terrible time finding a parking space.  And the parking issues turned out to be the worst part of the day.

They estimated that there were 1.4 million people who showed up to watch Atlantis take flight.  In spite of that number of people, everyone was friendly.  We didn't see or hear anybody arguing or even pushing.

When we arrived, we hung out at Marina Park.  Here's a picture of our view from there.

Yes, those are people on the bridge.  The authorities shut down that bridge two hours before the launch so that people can be on the bridge where cars normally travel.

There were all kinds of security measures too, including the Bomb Squad:

and Coast Guard helicopters and boats in addition to police officers.

When it got close to the launch time, we packed up all our stuff except for the cameras, and hiked to the bridge.  It was crowded but a very kind lady allowed our kiddos to squeeze to the front.

Because my brother couldn't make it to view the launch in person, I called him so he could at least hear it.  He was watching the live feed via the internet and gave us updates.  That was very helpful when the countdown stopped at T-31 seconds.

When it launched, we could hear it before we could see it and the crowd was cheering wildly and yelling "USA, USA, USA!"

Here's a cool shot of the plume after Atlantis launched:

And here's a small portion of the crowd leaving the bridge afterward:

It was a truly amazing experience.  I wish you could have been there!

Now, we're considering going to Kennedy Space Center to help welcome home Atlantis when she lands.  We'll see.

Happy Creative Time!


TonyaKaye said...

WOW! How lucky you are to live close enough to have this wonderful experience!

Julie said...

That is totally awesome

2KutiesGrandma said...

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the February launch this year. I know what you mean about the excitement of the crowd - people around us were cheering and chanting! Looks like it's going to be a "night" landing for Atlantis - dawn (6 am or so) on July 21.

bzyPTmom said...

Wow--how amazing. Thanks for sharing and I agree--go USA!

Anna said...

Wow watching history in the making. How blessed you are.

Lisa said...

It made me teary eyes just to read your account. Thanks for sharing it all!