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Part 3 - Week 2

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10th March 2008


The Palm Lakefront Resort & Hostel Hotel...  It's just a model with bunks instead of double beds... but it worked very well!  Simple but effective... I met lots of cool people here and Aaron, the manager was a nice chap and very helpful.


Not a bad setting eh!

Tonight, at 2:30am, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-123, launches from pad 39a...  And I've got tickets to see it!!!
So, let's head off to the coast, to find some spaceships!

Ooh, the VAB!


Checking out the Astronaut Hall Of Fame


Only a mockup this one...

After the hall of fame, I then realised that my launch ticket allowed me in to the KSC for the whole day of the launch! Doh!
So I raced down there next to look around before the launch at 2:30am that night...


The meatball


That thing looks familiar...


Good to know...


Hmmm not much privacy when you use the loo!


WE ARE GO FOR LAUNCH!


The rocket garden at dusk


Where the people that didn't causeway tickets get to hang out at the KSC...  Their view included lots of trees that hid the shuttle on the pad... but only seconds after launch they'd then see it rising up...


Proof I was there...


The VAB from the tour bus...


The Apollo mission control room...  Coool!


This thing if the biggest, bestest thing ever!
I'll be back to check it out properly in a few days...


This is the view the Families and VIPs get for the launch, from the Saturn 5 Building.  This is quite a bit nearer than my otherwise excellent ticketed viewing position on the Causeway


The VAB again


looking thru one of the coin-operated telescopes...


Queuing for the bus to take us down to the causeway...


So now we have to wait for a couple of hours...
So I fill some of it by taking lots of test shots and seeing if I can get a good sharp pic...
Hopefully I'll have it all set up such that I can just set it to continuously take pics whilst I sit and watch it with my own eyes...


 


Endeavour sitting on the pad... only 15 minutes to go!

T-7s... T-6.7: Main Engines Start... T-0: SRB Ignition and launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour!


Endeavour clears the tower and the steam/smoke cloud...  It then got exceedingly bright from then on as the Solid Rocket Motor ginormous plumes lit up the whole of the sky... The camera had to be set to account for this brightness... which luckily was set just right! (Thanks to Ben Sherman from SpaceFlightNow.com)
You have to realise that this all happens in complete silence... at least until T26, 32 seconds after the main engines first started... as we were about 6.7 miles (10.7km) away, it takes 32 seconds for the sound to travel that far...  But when it hit, it was still quite loud, and the crackling of the SRBs was excellent...  So it was a wonderfully surreal experience...


The long drive home... even tho I waited for an hour in the KSC carpark, I still found myself in a traffic jam down the road...

What an excellent night though!

 

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