Monday, November 16, 2009

The Launch

The Indian River
28 31.80 N 080 46.09 W

We didn't get as close to the launch as we hoped. Our friends, Kerry and Suzatte preferred to watch on land. Therefore, we pulled in to the Kennedy Point Marina on the west bank of the river. The marina was very nice, they didn't charge for us to tie up in one of their slips for a few hours.

The launch itself was great. With partly sunny skies, the rocket lit off exactly on time. The lit candle made an unbelievably bright flame and trailed a beautiful plume of white smoke. About a minute later the roar and rumble rolled over us. Unfortunately, the separation of the booster rockets happened behind a cloud, so we didn't see it.

Because my camera takes so many seconds to snap a picture, I decided to make a video clip this time. Unfortunately, I pushed the button to start the video, then looked at the camera. It appeared to not be working. I pushed the button again. After the fact I see that I recorded the video and audio right up to the point where Libby said, "There she goes!", then it stopped. So much for gadgetry. Anyhow, I got some beautiful stills of the smoke plume. I'll post them in a few days.

We had a heck of a time leaving the marina because the wind had come up and it was blowing the wrong way. Even in the best of conditions, Tarwathie is very hard to maneuver in tight quarters. Well, we finally got out, and we didn't damage any other boats, but our dingy lost part of its rub rail. Oh well, that's the way it goes. The main point is that we had fun, and indeed it was fun.

Right now, we're waiting for the draw bridge to open. It stays closed for 3 hours before the launch and 3 hours after the launch. Meanwhile, Space Shuttle Atlantis has just completed its first orbit. Wow! What a different way to travel. How's that for an understatement?

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