At 4:14 a.m. this morning, STS-130 launched on its mission to the International Space Station. And we were watching from the causeway! The second time was the charm, and the weather was obviously more clear last night. We spent the pre-launch hours snug in the car, where it was warmer. There weren’t nearly as many people as the night before, and although I still don’t totally understand the massive decrease in crowds, I’ll chalk it up to a combination of it being a “schoolnight”, plus the Super Bowl, plus people not wanting to spend another 4 hours waiting in the cold.
The launch was spectacular. This was the third that I’ve seen, but the first two were in 1997 and 1998 so it had been quite a while. I’m so glad I was able to see this one with Jose, my parents, and my brother. That made it extra special.
It is difficult to describe what viewing a launch is really like, especially a night launch. I can say things like “it was as bright as the sun” and “the sound crackles and pops and creaks,” but that doesn’t do it justice. Even the pictures don’t do it justice. You really just need to be there yourself, see the light, hear and feel the sound.
So instead of continuing in a futile attempt to describe what seeing a space shuttle launch is like, I will simply encourage any and all of you who are able to make your way to Florida for one of the last four shuttle flights, currently scheduled for March, May, July, and September. It is a trip that is well worth your time.