It was a last-minute decision, but I drove the nearly four-hour jaunt to Titusville and saw Space Shuttle Discovery launch.Discovery had a perfect late afternoon launch on May 31, 2008 just as scheduled for the STS-124 mission. A friend from South Florida and myself saw the shuttle launch from along the river bank on A1A in Titusville, one of the most popular spots to watch shuttle launches. Pad 39A’s flame trench took a beating, but as you can see above, there is a lot of exhaust being vented through the flame trenches, which were built originally for the Apollo moon program.
A highlight of the mission included Discovery and her crew delivery the Japanese Experiment Module, called Kib?, to the International Space Station where the shuttle remained dock for eight days.
The spot we watched the launch from is approximately 13 miles away, but as you can see it is directly due west of the launch pad and provides an unencumbered view of the pad and the launch trajectory. Even at this distance the rumble of the five engines was quite thrilling, although it did take more than 30 seconds to reach us. Why? Because light travels much faster than sound.
This was the first rocket launch I had witnessed in person, but was definitely not going to be my last.
Additional photos from the launch which I took may be viewed at my personal web site.
This entry was posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Space Shuttle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.