Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Seeing the shuttle

On Sunday night, March 15, I got one of those opportunities that is a benefit of living in Florida. Even from across the state, I was able to see part of the space shuttle Discovery’s journey into orbit.

I’ve seen shuttles take off before. One time, I was out with my cousin Angelo and we went to Lake Worth beach to view a daytime launch, and I saw night launches from my backyard at my old house in Lake Worth.

When I moved to Vero Beach, I saw a dawn launch from the beach and saw Columbia’s last launch before its tragic accident from my front yard. I’ve also seen launches from the parking lot of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

This time, I knew of a great site with excellent views to the east. It’s a part of the Covered Bridge subdivision in Ellenton, Fla., which is where I live, in which houses were never built. I wasn’t the only one. I discovered that a fellow who I met at an astronomy event also lives in the subdivision, and he was there with his daughter to watch the launch. So I set up next to him. Later, his wife arrived with their baby.

A few other people came out to watch with us, and we saw the shuttle rise on its pillar of fire, and saw when the solid rocket boosters separated.

I kind of hope the shuttle comes back over the Tampa Bay area. One time, when I was still working at the Herald-Tribune, it was nearly 11 p.m. when suddenly there was a sound like a car exploding, and then an echo. The building shook.

It was the space shuttle coming in for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center and passing over the Tampa Bay area. The sonic boom (the first I ever heard in person) caused people to call the newsroom to ask what had just happened.

Seeing the shuttle ascend was my thrill for Sunday night.


March 16, 2009 - Posted by | Living in the modern age, Observations with Vinny | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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