Unfortunately, every shuttle launch viewing trip has to come to an end. Even though it was over this one was special. We got to see a very unique launch with the shadow on the clouds, we got to walk to the north barrier, and we had beautiful weather for viewing the SRB recovery ships returning to port. Plus I was able to bring my dad along to share in the fun.
We had different flights home as dad and Twitterless Ted had already booked their return flights while I waited to see if the launch happened or not. I was prepared to hang around again until it went up. I’m so glad it happened on schedule otherwise we would have spent the time waiting around instead of checking things out.
My flight left at 7:30am and this is where we parted company. The two old men were heading home to have brunch and take naps. What a life. I on the other hand landed in Indy at 11:30am, was picked up by Joe and Donnie (I knew they would work themselves into this story somehow), and then attended a VMware Users Group Meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The weather didn’t allow them to run any cars while we were there but I wasn’t complaining considering all I had seen over the last few days. The only thing I did complain about was the weather. I left sunny and 85 for raining and 56.
All the planning had paid off and it’s still hard to believe the trip is over. We have now started making plans for STS-135, the final launch of the Space Shuttle program and the final launch of humans into space by the United States for the foreseeable future. This is the end of a 30-year era. I’m even toying with taking our 6 year old along, as I know he would really enjoy it. Justin and I are also talking about taking a trip to Russia to see a Soyuz launch as after STS-135 that will be the only place you can see a NASA astronaut launched into space.
The feedback I’ve received online from the STS-134 trip has been incredible so I’ll do what I can to post options and tips so others can share in the best launch viewing experience possible for STS-135.