Two of our bloggers, Harrison Earl and Bill Owen, were invited (by different groups, no less) to the recent shuttle launch, and their stories are so good, we are excited to share them both with you.
Last week I had the incredible opportunity to be one of 150 people invited by NASA to attend a Tweetup at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA arranged two days of talks and behind the scenes tours for us, along with a great view for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on its mission to the International Space Station.
It was always a dream of mine to see a space shuttle launch, and NASA made my first one incredibly memorable. They arranged speakers like Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, Chief Technologist Bobby Braun, and Astronauts Janice Voss and Dave Wolf. Our behind the scenes tour even included a trip to the launch pad where we got to see the space shuttle from only a couple hundred yards away.
And, of course, we got to watch the shuttle launch. NASA even made that special by letting us watch from the media site, right next to the famous countdown clock that is always pictured on TV. It’s an incredibly humbling experience to witness a shuttle launch. The ground shakes; you feel the vibrations in your entire body; the sound is deafening; and the sight of it rocketing off into space overwhelms you. Although the actual launch is over quickly, you won’t soon forget the sensation of liftoff or the excitement in the air when that countdown clock reaches zero.
A shuttle launch is truly something that everybody should see, even if you don’t get quite the view that NASA arranged for us. There are only two space shuttle missions left--one in September, and another in November--so make your plans now to witness a launch before it is too late. The Kennedy Space Center is only about an hour from the Orlando Airport, and since the shuttle launch timeline changes frequently, make sure to book your ticket on Southwest so you won’t have to pay a change fee if things don’t go exactly to plan.
Of course, there’s also the chance you could have an experience like mine at a NASA Tweetup. Follow NASA on Twitter (@NASA) to hear the latest space news, and to see if they have another Tweetup. Who knows, maybe you’ll get the same VIP experience during the next launch.