After a very long taxi ride to the airport because of rain on the road, the weather cleared and I found myself finally at the Orlando Airport. It was 5:45pm, and our flight was scheduled to take off at 7:50pm, hence boarding at 7:20pm. Well our flight suffered a 20 minute delay of departure, and then didn't start boarding until 8:05pm which meant at 7:38pm I was in an airport terminal of mostly glass walls, with CNN running the countdown on lots of monitors, as the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off from Cape Canaveral just 60 miles away.
It was, and is, an ambition of mine to see the shuttle (or it's replacement) take off from a distance close enough to see the pad, but this was still a special moment to stand around with about 150 other people just in that terminal and watch the orbiter rise on the horizon.
To Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and Specialists Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, Danny Olivas, James Reilly and Clayton Anderson as well as Specialist Sunita Williams whom they will be collecting from the International Space Station, god speed, good journeys and safe returns. To often we forget these heroes because for some reason, to the American public, the mystique of space has worn-off. But at least this tech geek is continually impressed by the heroism displayed by all those in the Astronaut Corps.
(Photo Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)