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I watched the space shuttle launch tonight.

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Jones, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I know the world can sometimes seem limiting and cynical, but I stood on the shore of a creek tonight, looking out over the Florida flats, and watched a big ball of fire light up underneath one of my friends and rocket him into space.

    It was one of the most beautiful and moving things I've seen. And I swear to God, you can feel the launch in your balls. It comes through the ground and up your feet and legs even before you can hear it.

    If you ever get the chance to watch a launch before they pull the plug in the next two years, take it. It's really an inspirational thing.

    And I hope the president elect was watching tonight, and he decides that even in hard times, it's worth the investment in our future and in the best we can do.
  2. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    I remember, back in the day, when a shuttle launch was a big event -- gather-around-the-TV kind of stuff. Now it's practically a non-event. Sounds like watching one in person would be spectacular.
  3. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    I think it's still a pretty big event, for the reasons Jones describes. Although they don't get the coverage on TV they once did, I think launches still draw a pretty big live audience, even if it's pretty spread out. I haven't seen a shuttle launch live, but I have seen one from hundreds of miles away at night, which is pretty impressive in itself. I lived in Cocoa Beach as a toddler and remember gathering on the porch for rocket launches. Very cool stuff.
  4. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    I watched it on HDNet, cranked up my stereo and it was the next best thing to being there.
    Back in 93, I was in Fla, found out there was a launch and drove up to see it. They scrubbed it with 5 seconds left. One of the biggest disappointments of my life.
    But Jones, what I really want to know is, what's it like to hang with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau?
    That was a great piece you penned.
  5. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Back when I worked in Florida, shuttle launches were one of our favorite forms of entertainment. We'd leave work at 1 a.m. or whenever and head down U.S. 1. We'd grab our spots along the Banana River in Titusville and drink cheap beer until the shuttle went off at 8 or whenever. The best was a night launch--the first, I think--that was very spectacular.

    This is 100% true. It goes right through you.
  6. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I saw one once when I lived in Orlando. It was a night launch. I don't remember how far it is from Orlando to the Cape, but even at that distance the night launch fire ball was about the size of a quarter.
  7. John

    John Well-Known Member

    If you've ever covered an NHRA event, a similar thing happens if you're near the starting line during the top fuel races.
  8. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Do they only take off from Florida? Or do they take off from Houston also?
  9. kokane_muthashed

    kokane_muthashed Active Member

    Coincidental to this thread, I started reading Jones' book earlier tonight.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    This is also 100% true.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Only from the Cape.

    Originally there were plans to launch some shuttles from Vandenberg AFB near LA, but those got scotched after the Challenger disaster in 1986.

    Really wanted to take in a launch this year -- I was a couple away from booking tickets to watch the Hubble repair mission that was postponed in early October -- but then the gathering financial meltdown convinced me it might not be the best time to piss a few hundred bucks out the window.

    Hopefully things will settle down in time to go see one next year.

    I've talked to some people who watched Apollo/Saturn V launches, and they said it was absolutely astonishing. The shuttle is something like that (only a million pounds less thrust), but they said it's still not like the Saturn V was. They said it shook the ground from 25 miles away -- if you were in the immediate area (within about 10 miles) the ground just absolutely thundered.

    Guess we'll have to wait until the Ares V flies in 2018 or so -- if it ever does.
  12. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I covered a funny car event at Pomona in 1990, stood about 10 feet from a car as it revved the engine and took off. The power and the noise rattled me to the core. Crazy, thrilling, scary jolt all at once.
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