Sunday, March 15, 2009

"We're go for that!"

So I wasn't able to make another trip to the Space Coast to see Discovery (STS-119) launch this evening, but my neighbors and I went to the top of the street and were able to see a wee streak across the sky after it launched and at 7:53:00 (EDT) we saw the booster rocket come off and begin its fall back to earth, to be consumed by the atmosphere. (This photo is from NASA's coverage of the launch.)
As I am writing this I am listening to the crew talking to Mission Control Houston as they complete their first orbit of the earth, preparing for the next phase - to catch up to the Space Station to deliver their payload of solar arrays. Some people don't find this particularly fascinating, but I worked on the Apollo Project (now you know for sure I'm over 60!) and specifically on the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). Some years ago I had the great opportunity to take my son to the Kennedy Space Center and show him the Saturn V rocket booster that put Apollo into space. Even I was surprised at how large it was, in spite of the number of times I'd put together materials and specification sheets. That's a really interesting journey to take with children and grandchildren. The additional family link to all of this is that my father's business was also participating in the "space race" of the 60's, which I didn't find out until after I'd left the project to have my first child. And with that child in my lap we watched the lunar landing... that I played a very small part (on the molecular scale, I'd estimate) in helping to make happen.

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