TONIGHT--SPACE SHUTTLE NIGHT LAUNCH
If you've ever been to the Space Coast area during preparations for a shuttle launch, then you'll recognize the scene in the photo. NASA lights the shuttle launch complex with huge flood lights that can be seen for miles.
At 2:28 AM ET, NASA will be launching Endeavour into the night skies of the Space Coast. A rare night launch that, by any measure, is the biggest show in town. I was lucky enough to witness one of these launches first hand many years ago. Nixon was president, the rocket was an Atlas 5, and it was headed for the moon for the last time, though we didn't know it at the time. I posted about my experience here. (video)
Many people alive today don't know of a time when the shuttle wasn't flying. They take it for granted, don't watch the launches anymore and miss out on one of mankind's greatest accomplishments. Let this post serve as a wake up call--from the NYT:
"At 16 days, this will be the longest mission devoted to station construction. It is also, however, part of the winding down of the shuttle program, which will have just a dozen missions more after this one to complete the station and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope before 2010."
The curtain is beginning to come down on the shuttle program, so take advantage of the flights that are scheduled because they are becoming fewer and fewer. And we all know the program is just one problem or congressional budget away from never flying again. That's what happened to the Apollo program back in December 1972.
If witnessing a shuttle launch is on your life's "to-do" list, make your plans now--GREYBEARD. (I know someone who can get ya backstage)
Tonight's launch will be a another big show, and I know of two people here and here who'll have front row seats for this scene: