Archive for the ‘space’ Category.

Space Shuttle Atlantis – STS-132

STS-132 mission patch

STS-132 mission patch

You can read all the facts you like about the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 at the Wikipedia page or elsewhere. But being there was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me, and for a whole bunch of other people who travelled from near (Florida, Georgia, Texas, etc.) and far (Australia, Sweden, Germany, etc.) to see the launch.

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Kennedy Space Center, day 1, part 1

Kennedy Space Centre Launch Complex 39

Kennedy Space Centre Launch Complex 39

After sampling a variety of lounges, my flying continued with the last leg from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I didn’t plan to take this routing for any reason except that the times were convenient. However, as we approached our destination, I was woken by the captain announcing that the Kennedy Space Center was visible to the right.¬†Since the reason for my trip was to see the launch of the Space Shuttle, getting a preview from 37,000 feet was a real bonus. The photo at the right shows Launch Complex 39, with the Vehicle Assembly Building at the top, launch pad 39A (with the shuttle already on it) at the bottom, and pad 39B off to the right.

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Following Apollo 11 for the first time

I wasn’t born yet when Lance Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 1969. I was less than nine months old when¬†Eugene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon, left its surface in mid-December 1972. So I was born in the Lunar Age, although I was too young to remember it.

I vaguely remember when Skylab returned to earth over Western Australian in 1979 (earning the US a $400 fine for littering), but the most prominent memory I have of a space mission was when my father woke me early in the morning to watch the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia in April 1981.

While I followed the shuttle program with great interest (and horror in 1986), the Apollo program was mostly unknown to me until I saw the movie Apollo 13 in 1995. While the movie had its share of artistic fiction, it was a great introduction to the space program that captured the world’s attention 40 years ago.

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