I hope everyone had a wonderful, firework-filled Fourth of July! My fiance, his boys, and I are in Florida awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. Not just any launch, but the final one. Not just the final one for Atlantis, but the final launch for the entire program.
After thirty years and over 135 launches, America's space shuttle program will come to an end. Atlantis is scheduled to lift off for the last time on Friday morning, July 8th at 11:26 a.m. And we're here to see it!
Officials here at Cape Canaveral are expecting a million people to pour into the neighboring towns to watch Atlantis soar into the sky one last time. We've already staked out our viewing location--12 miles away--and plan to get there wicked early to set up our lawn chairs, cooler of ice water, still cameras, and video recorders. If you've got deep pockets, you can pay for a ticket to watch the launch from the causeway--about 5 miles away. If you're one of the lucky ones who won tickets, you can view the launch from the area with the astronaut's families--3 miles away. This is the closest you can get to the orbiter.
The Crew of Atlantis
...or so we thought.
Patrick and I were at the Canaveral National Seashore to swim and hang out when we noticed something toward the end of Playalinda Beach. We walked and walked and walked...probably for a mile...until we reached a security fence protruding into the ocean. A man in a guard tower held up his hand to keep us from getting closer. But we were allowed to stand there with others and stare in awe...Atlantis in all of her glory sitting on Launch Pad 39A only ONE MILE away!
Truly a moment to cherish!
Have you ever seen a shuttle launch? It's got to be a magical experience...which we'll find out soon. We'll see if the weather holds off and Atlantis and her crew speed away on Friday morning! Keep your fingers crossed!
Godspeed the crew of Atlantis!