July 26, 2005

A Bonus to Living in Florida

Today the Space Shuttle went off successfully. A bonus to living in Florida is being able to stand outside and watch it lift off.

Oddly, 30 minutes before scheduled take off, we got a message from security, via computer, that the roof was off limits for shuttle viewing. We had to laugh at that. There was no doubt it had occurred to some to go to the highest point as the best place to view.

We walked outside to find the best vantage point. It’s the first time any of us have watched a lift off while working for this company, so we were trying to find a premier site unencumbered by palm trees and sky line. For awhile some thought it was in the middle of the street. I guess you have to understand an engineer’s mentality to know that its not absurd to think they’d stand in the middle of the street if the view was clear and have to be reminded by other’s that maybe it really *wasn’t* the best vantage point.

There are multiple projects going on within the company I work for, and many of my co-workers work on the Space Shuttle. So it is always a morale booster for them to be able to watch their product. It’s not to say that those of us who do not work the project don’t enjoy it. We enjoy it, but it is different. It’s like when we get a fly over… I see our product work and get a sense of self satisfaction. Everyone else thinks, “Cool! A jet!” I think, “Heh. I helped do that.”

Today was the first time, however, that it has been a different feeling for me. Since Challenger, with every lift off that we’ve gone outside to watch, there has been a feeling of trepidation, for many of us watched as the Challenger lift off did not go as planned and if we did not watch, we know exactly where we were when it happened. When there is a lift off, we all hold our breaths until the separation. Once that occurs, there is a collective exhale.

This time, however, as I walked in with my buddy, the one who hired me, I looked at him and said, “That appeared to go well. Now we only have to worry about the landing.” I’ve never thought that way before.

Posted by Boudicca at July 26, 2005 09:43 PM | TrackBack
Comments

How cool is that! That you get to watch it first of all but that you know folks that worked on it! I think the whole fuel line thing would have scared me enough not to want to be a passenger but then again they have worked a long time to be on it. Whew! I envy you :)

Posted by: Napster at July 26, 2005 10:38 PM

Tater got to see it. We watched liftoff on TV and then ran out and saw it in the sky. I have a picture and will blog on it tomorrow. Still get chill bumps when I see one take off.

Posted by: vw bug at July 27, 2005 05:56 AM

When I heard they delayed the post-launch party until after the shuttle returns I was glad.

I'll worry until they land.

Posted by: BeeBee at July 27, 2005 08:06 AM

We've always known spaceflight is extremely dangerous. But Challenger drove the point home.

I didn't watch the launch, perhaps because I didn't want to see it if things went wrong. I agree with BeeBee, I'm not celebrating until they're home safe, something I never worried about in previous spaceflights.

Posted by: George at July 27, 2005 09:59 AM

Over here on the west coast of Florida ( Homosassa ) we didn't get to see much of it. But it alway fascinates me. I was the same way though when I was in the Air Force. A flight of fighter jets doing a flyover would give me chills of pride-and still does.

Posted by: GUYK at July 27, 2005 10:47 AM

Indeed, standing outside on the sidewalk (near the middle of the road) in Deerfield Beach, FL watching Challenger take off is not a sight that will be ever forgotten.

Posted by: Ogre at July 27, 2005 11:15 AM