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Well, *that* was cool

This week we went to chilly Florida, where we got to see the last (scheduled) nighttime Space Shuttle launch.

The first night we were treated to a few of the wee hours hanging out in Space View park, freezing along with a few hundred other wanna-sees.  As the launch window approached our few hundred friends ballooned to a few thousand, all present to share the launch scrubbing.  Space shuttles fear clouds.

The second night we brilliantly reserved a walking-distance hotel, allowing us to sleep until the magic hour of 3am and then stumble down the street to a more intimate gathering near a local pump station of some variety.  A 4 ish year old was complaining about being hauled out of bed to sit in the cold, giving voice to everyone’s inner thoughts.  And then there was a mumbled new-year’s-eve-esque countdown among the people who actually had access to inside information.  My iPhone’s data connection had long ago been overwhelmed by everyone sharing the local cell tower.

I had already digested the idea that I’d be going to see a cool significant historic event, but somehow I hadn’t really processed the idea that I’d be seeing the biggest fireworks show that I’ve ever attended.  Four million pounds of fuel, give-or-take, 95% of what’s on the launchpad.

So my new friends finish the countdown, and someone lights the wick.  And it’s suddenly daylight.  Several people, myself included, are unable to resist saying “wow” aloud.  Repeatedly.

A while later, the sound arrives.  And gets louder.  And louder.  Before the peak I start getting worried that the sound is going to hurt, but it peaks well below there.  Still, I figure the whole Florida Atlantic coast is awake at this point.

Before and after pictures below.  You’ve got four more chances.

Posted via email from ert’s posterous

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