i finally got to see the launch of a space shuttle. this was originally the trip i wanted to take back at the end of 2008. but a malfunction with the hubble in late september caused the october launch to be postponed to this past week. according to the tour guide, there were two parts to the hubble, a primary and a back up. the primary failed passing control to the back up. since they had not yet made the trip for the maintenance, this opportunity gave them the chance to fix the failure and perform the upgrades.
along with a friend and her parents, we camped out on side of SR-528 about a mile from the banana river drive exit about three and a half hours to get a good spot, which we did. we realized we had a clear view of endeavour while atlantis was hidden behind some trees on a small island. (i shifted my location to get some pictures of the initial srb ignition.) i was still quite a ways away to get some very detailed shots.
i found out while on the tours of kennedy that i could have purchased tickets for the launch which would have put me significantly closer. if i decide to attend another launch, i will indeed purchase those tickets.
of course, the time it takes to leave the pad to reach orbit is just around two minutes (two incredible minutes), the launch was over very quickly. two hundred and twenty hours for two minutes worth of watching. yes, it was worth it.
i recorded the launch on my tivo covered by one of my high def channels. not only did i get to be there to see the launch in person, i got to see all the close up shot provided by nasa in high definition awesomeness. the only way to beat that is to actually be either in the launch control room or on the shuttle itself.