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Posts Tagged ‘shuttle’

Hubble Shuttle

Nothing. Zilch. Nada. That’s what we saw when the shuttle to Hubble took off about 2 p.m. There were clouds, but those of us gathered down our street thought surely we would see the shuttle after it broke through. We were relieved to learn when we went back to our TV’s and radios that everything went well after having watched the one that didn’t many years ago from this very spot.

So I missed the liftoff of this shuttle, but the mission is dear to my heart, to keep the amazing Hubble telescope going up to ten years more. Let’s all hope they are successful. 

P1050559-2

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Lift Off!

 

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Sun Setting

 

 

Shuttle Rising

Shuttle Rising

 

 

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Discovery - March 15, 2009

 

 

 

After almost thirty-three years of watching the shuttle take off from a spot in front of our house, I saw it close up tonight. Do I have your permission to employ an over-used word? It was AWESOME, in the true sense of the word. 

My son took me to a special, secluded place he has gone to many times before. I think the word is out. More than half a dozen cars arrived with cameras, tripods and one with (I swear) a three-foot lens. A few of us had a hard time pulling away from the beautiful sunset until we heard the yell that the shuttle was lifting off. We swung around and started snapping that amazing sight as the space craft rose like a sunrise. Rays from a dying sun  on one side turned the shuttle’s contrail into a rainbow in spots.  Then came the rumble, for another  sensory stimulation. As the shuttle climbed higher, very sharp and clear, diamond-like boosters separated over our heads, it seemed. 

So now that I’ve seen the launch up close, I wonder. Will I ever be satisfied again with the view from the front yard?

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endeavour… the random talk of people who have no chance of immortality and thus can speak their minds out has a setting, often, of lights, streets, houses, human beings, beautiful or grotesque, which will weave itself into the moment for ever.

Virginia Woolf

 

T minus 10, 9, 8, 7—   I grabbed my camera and bolted out the front door to the middle of the street, dark except for a dim street light and murky full moon. I felt my neighbor Chris’ tap on the shoulder before I saw or heard her. How many shuttle launches had we watched together? Usually Bonnie from across the street was with us, but not tonight. The car at the intersection came our way and we dared it to make us move and miss what would soon be appearing in the east at the end of our street. The car pulled over and stopped. Bonnie popped out, not bothering to close her door.

 

“Our pastor just died,” Bonnie said. The diffused light of the street lamp revealed her smeared makeup.


Then our eyes fixed on the familiar glow on the horizon. It expanded like a sunrise and became brighter and brighter until it formed a bullet shape with a reddish golden hue, the most brilliant we had seen in all our years of shuttle watching.

 

 

“This is the first launch Jerry has missed in over thirty years here. He’s in the hospital and I’m filming it for him,” I said.

Greetings from Bonnie and Chris went on the video.

 

The moon, diffused by clouds, seemed to know its place as Endeavour cleared a sharp, brilliant path through the sky. Then the spacecraft appeared to hesitate as a bright, white light burst against the dark background. The booster had jettisoned.

 

“I woke in the middle of the night recently and knew my father had pneumonia and called my mom in the morning. She took him to the hospital, though she didn’t think he was sick. He had pneumonia,” Bonnie said.

 

The shuttle was a small, but still bright spot in the sky, like a shooting star. Our eyes never left it.

 

“My son and his family moved out last week,” Chris said. “It’s nice and quiet, but I miss my grandson. He visited today and barreled toward my knees to give them a bear hug.”

 

A tiny spec still streaked across the sky as our front doors closed behind us. That this launch had been visible much longer than others was fitting. Three women on a dark street had important pieces of their lives to send into the night sky.

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