Thursday, July 07, 2011

Last launch of Shuttle Atlantis

The last launch of Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to go off tomorrow morning but with heavy rain scheduled for our area, they are saying there is only a 30% chance that it will go. I have to say that the end of the Shuttle Program is a sad day for me and probably a lot of members of Central Florida. I grew up watching the Space Shuttle and remember watching the Challenger explode on TV when I was in 8th grade. Then as I got older, I went to work for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in the Guest Services Department. My most memorable launch was when several of us from the Guest Services Department went onto KSC property to watch the Shuttle Atlantis from the railroad tracks by the VAB. It was a night launch and as the shuttle lifted off the ground, I will never forget the feeling that I felt when it shook the tracks and lit up the night sky. We could see the gators swimming in the lake and the fish jumping. It was truly an unbelievable experience. Unfortunately, my career at KSCVC ended when I was laid off after 9/11. I still stuck around Central Florida and then came back to to manage the Holiday Inn Kennedy Space Center and was there when Columbia exploded. I guess you could say that I have watched the Shuttle Program through many of it's ups and downs and let me tell you, it never gets old. So, if it goes off tomorrow I will make one final trek across Hwy 46 and over to Titusville to watch the launch from the parking lot of the hospital and then head back with a heavy heart to finish my day at work. So, for all of you... If you are headed to Titusville tomorrow for the last launch of Shuttle Atlantis I invite you to stay at the Holiday Inn Express Orange City and then head over to watch it with me. We may not get as close as the people on the Causeway, but we won't be stuck in 4-6 hour traffic either.

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