Today is the final launch of the space shuttle program’s 30 year run. I’m up in the front lounge of our tour bus watching CNN in the front lounge. It’s strange to think that this is going to be the final shuttle launch ever, with the mission designated as STS-135.
When I was about 14, my family traveled down to Florida for vacation. This was one of my first time really exploring the United States, and we were driving down to FL from Canada, so we really got to see quite a bit.
We saw a ton of amazing things on that vacation, but the highlight for me was the shuttle launch we went to watch in person. We went to see the launch of STS-89, a shuttle mission to the Russian MIR Space Station.
I will never forget the experience.
It was a night launch, taking off just before 10pm. We watched from a causeway about 5 miles away. There was a body of water between us and the shuttle. Roughly 50,000 people were gathered alongside us to watch the launch.
We waited and waited…. and when the shuttle finally burst into life, a fireball was all we could really see. I watched a shockwave come across the water, and when it reached us, the sound of the shuttle hit me right in the chest. I was amazed at how something 5 miles away could be so powerful as to hit you that hard despite the distance. Amazing.
We are now 2 mins to launch of this final shuttle.