June 25, 2007

Lights in the Sky

Last week Sonja and I spent an evening with friends when we went for a stroll in the dark. As we walked along the trail someone pointed out what looked like a really bright satellite appearing over the cliffs. When a second light appeared behind the first one, following the exact same trajectory, I knew what we were looking at. Earlier that day the Space Shuttle Atlantis had undocked from the International Space Station and had begun to move away to prepare for landing. And for the first time in my life, I was 100% confident that I was watching the space shuttle in flight. The show, which lasted less than a minute as the two bright specks of light zoomed across the sky, was absolutely spectacular. I spent the rest of the evening giddy with excitement over what we had seen.

Recently, Sonja and I have been tossing around the idea of taking a trip out to Cape Canaveral to watch a shuttle launch, something I've wanted to see my whole life. The only thing stopping us is the tendancy of NASA to delay the launches, sometimes for weeks. However, since the shuttle fleet is slated for retirement within the next three years our chances are running out. It may have to be a spur of the moment thing when the weather looks perfect. There are three more launches scheduled for this fall and only two so far for next year, but hopefully we'll be able to catch one of them.


birdchaser said...

Very cool. I'd love to see a launch. When I lived in Texas, I got up before dawn to see re-entry--an amazing orange plasma trail. Unfortunately, I was also out birding when Columbia re-entered for the last time and I watched it break apart over north Texas. Would like to replace that with a happier shuttle memory.

Anonymous said...

Launches are awesome! You must go!