Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nothing Quite Like A Space Shuttle Launch

Over the past 26 years, I've been fortunate to witness 25 different Space Shuttle launches from the NASA Press Center at Cape Canaveral--including Discovery's Return To Space Flight after the Challenger accident, the delivery of the Hubble Space Telescope to space and John Glenn's triumphant return there as well. With Space Shuttle Discovery again sitting on Launch Pad 39-A for its final scheduled of 39 missions, The African Queen and I headed over to Kennedy Center Park in Titusville to watch the historic last liftoff after conclusion of Nationals Spring Training this afternoon.

Along with a couple thousand of our closest friends, the spectacle--as usual--did not disappoint.  While I took pictures, The African Queen enjoyed the launch with a couple from the United Kingdom who had been vacationing off and on in Florida for 20 years and had never been fortunate enough to witness one in person.

On a beautiful sun drench day, the weather could not have cooperated more. For nearly three minutes, until SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) Separation, spectators could fully watch Discovery work its way toward orbit and a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
We could not have picked a much better site for public viewing. Six miles directly across the Banana River from The Kennedy Space Center.  

Nearly perfect in every way.

There is nothing quite like a space shuttle launch especially when there are only two more planned--Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavor will close out the NASA missions later this year.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Melissa said...

Hi! I'm going to the Endeavour launch Friday with my mom. We don't have tickets to view it at KSC so I was wondering where your viewing spot was. It looks idea. Was it at KSC or at Space View Park, or at a different location? Did you stake out your spot all day long? Any tips would be great, as this is our first time trying this. Thanks!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Melissa: On Route 1 in Titusville at Route 50 is Kennedy Point Park. It's located directly across the river, west, from the launch pad. To claim the best spot, I would highly recommend you leave early. For our launch last February, we arrived a good four hours before lift off. Hope that helps. Have Fun. Parking was free along Route 1 there as well--although some were charging up to $20 to park on their private property.