I don’t fly out of Baltimore until this afternoon, leave about 5:40 (and hopefully everything will be on time, even with the rain!), but about to leave for part 2 of the STS-134 NASATweetup. I’m excited, exhausted, and ready to watch and meet up with my many new friends from the Tweetup. My fingers are crossed that there are no malfunctions and that the weather cooperates! When I tell people here at home about my adventures and how it happened they look at me like I’m crazy, then tell me to bring home some pictures. That is no problem as I already have a plan to execute and I hope to get a few good reminders of this chance of a life time! I wish my friends and family could all be there with me, but since that can’t be, I can at least try to capture a bit of the magic as it happens. Endeavour is going to launch, and my NASATweetup friends and I will be there to watch!!
Life if full of the unknown. There are things that are worth taking chances though and I sit here about to take off on another adventure, this time with as much hope as last that I get to watch a hunk of metal containing human-beings take off for the stars! I know that Endeavour isn’t going to the stars, it would probably be destroyed long before it could get even close to one, but I, along with a lot of other people, will only ever dream what it is like taking off to orbit around the world. Very few human have had such an opportunity, and few it will remain for now I believe.
Endeavour is the second to last shuttle launch for the US, ever…at least right now I couldn’t fathom how another after Atlantis later this year would take off. NASA is working on other ways to transport people into space, and hopefully by opening up space exploration to the public, imaginations will be able to soar and we’ll succeed in this endeavor. 🙂 I am going to Kennedy Space Center again with hopes of watching the RSS retraction on Sunday around noon, and in the wee hours of Monday morning will be back there again to watch Endeavour take off. I hope I can capture the magic of the event, even just a little! I know it will be burned into my heart and mind forever. I want to share it with all my family and friends who won’t be able to be there with me…even though they can watch it with me on NASA Tv.
There are many things that could go wrong. There is currently a 70% chance the weather will cooperate, I hope that is enough in our favor! I know that another malfunction could occur. I also know that my financial situation isn’t strong enough to allow me to go back again for a while (probably until my vacation there in November). I guess as a wise man said, “Only Time Will Tell!”
I’m sorry that this update has been a while in coming, but the day of the Scrub of the launch of Endeavour, I just was so disappointed I couldn’t write about it. I just talked myself into editing the photos and videos from that day and posting them. So along with that I can now share the end of (hopefully Part 1) of my NASA Tweetup adventures.
Friday dawned rainy and a bit breezy, but all the news we were receiving was that by afternoon it would clear and there was a 70% chance of launch due to weather. We headed out to the Tweetup and made sure we were early to set up Tripods along the shoreline. We had a bit of a longer walk because of the increased number of people coming we had to park further out. Went and set up my Tripod right along the shoreline of the Media area, and was quite happy with my spot. As I was placing my Tripod I turned around and watch a happy couple who had both managed to become a part of the Tweetup get engaged, right by the count-down clock. That added some romance to the Tweetup. 🙂 It put a big smile on my face. I walked around and got a few pictures, but my plan really was to get most my pictures during the launch.
The morning programs began and we had several speakers including 2 Astronauts: Ricky Arnold and Leland Melvin. Then we had a speaker who was ultimately in charge of deciding if the weather was in favor of the launch. Then it was time for a lunch break before we headed out towards the road to watch the Astrovan drive past on it’s way to the Launch Pad, stopping at the VAB right in front of us. This was the part of the day when things went down hill. We saw the Helicoptor that leads the van, then we saw the escort and the van…it pulled into the VAB like it was supposed to…BUT…it stayed there longer then it should have…and when it finally came back out, it turned around and it was then that we learned that the Launch was a Scrub due to a problem they were having with a heating unit on the Shuttle. The disappointment all around was strongly felt. We were told that they were going to try again on Sunday or Monday. Some of us had time constraints. But it was in a way due to the scrub that I made a few closer friends then I would have met otherwise.
I stayed a little longer hoping that things would work out for the launch, which it didn’t and has now been postponed at least twice more, but I have to say, I wouldn’t have traded the experiences I had for anything! With any luck I will be able to go back to see the Launch. We are still cleared to go back whenever the Launch does occur, we just won’t have our nice tent with electrical outlets and extra wi-fi in the area for us to communicate with the world. But if I can work it out at work, I will be there, with all my friends sharing the moment when Endeavour lifts off into the heavens and vanishes into space. 🙂
Pieces for my upcoming trip are coming together, and I can’t help but have excitement course through my veins and nervous system as I sit here and think about it! I have my airfare (Southwest! gotta love their policy for photographers…and gear), I have a place to stay (MANY thanks to my Aunt for letting me stay with her in eastern Orlando!), and I have a car rented. I want to find someone to carpool with as it is always more fun to share adventures…and also easier on the pocketbook to share gas money costs! Whomever I carpool with just has to have room for my camera gear, as that is definitely going with me!
Today I started working on getting gear ready for the trip. I do need to ask John to clean my cameras and lenses yet, but I disassembled and cleaned up my tripod with John’s help today…although I did realize that it was broken and of course the pieces to my Manfrotto 3221 tripod are no longer made. That makes it harder to fix, but John found a used one on Adorama that is supposed to be in excellent condition, so bought that and I now have my old one for parts. 🙂 Still considering selling a few of the parts online to get some extra $$ too. Will wait to see what condition new one is in for sure, but haven’t gotten a bad item from Adorama yet! Love that company. They are fast to deliver and service is great!
I’ll keep sharing my adventure with you as things occur!! Loved my first NASA Tweetup experience in DC when I got to meet Astronaut TJ Creamer on July 29, 2010, but this is a homerun experience…that was a 1st base experience!
Coming up I have been given the honor of being selected to attend the STS-134 shuttle Launch by following NASA on Twitter and registering to go. I’m one of 150 people who get to go the watch from the media area and I couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait and I hope to share my luck with those who read and know me. Follow along and I’ll post pictures and write about my experiences as they come!
The first challenge was getting a flight to Orlando and finding a place to stay while there. The flight was easy and I’m flying Southwest because they are lenient with their rescheduling and also allow checked bags without charge. I’m lucky in that I have family in Orlando who very kindly will give me a room. Wish I could see them more when I’m there, but I’ll be at NASA most of the time. I also had to change my work schedule, but that proved easier then I thought it would be. It just seems that I’m meant to be there! Now I have to find a rental car or someone to car pool with to get around while down there.