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.