Friday, July 8, 2011

Godspeed Atlantis!

Today we had the privilege of having front-row seats to the final space shuttle launch. Mark works for a company that does contract work for NASA, and for each launch his company is given a few passes to otherwise restricted areas, that they then raffle off. He won a pass a few years ago, and we got to watch the launch of Atlantis from the closest spot that anyone is allowed to go, right next to the Vehicle Assembly Building. This time our passes weren't quite as close, but they were still awesome! Because one million people were expected to be up there, we had to leave pretty early and ended up getting there about an hour before the launch. But the kids were good, and the weather cooperated.
There were speakers set up so we could hear the conversations back and forth, as well as the countdown. Every time one of the various departments would say they were a "go" for lift-off, the crowd would cheer. And yes, I couldn't help but tear up when I heard "Godspeed Atlantis" over the speakers! During the final 15 seconds or so before it took off, the crowd was absolutely silent, and then once it was up in the air everyone cheered again. It was neat to be a part of such a patriotic moment.

Chris just loved the binoculars :) Doesn't he remind you of Wall-E?

Anna loved them, too! She didn't quite get the concept of putting them on her eyes, though :)
She's got Pop wrapped!
Today also made me remember how proud I am of my husband. Since he works on the Space Center property, he was able to point out all of the various buildings and structures and tell us what they were. It was like having our own personal tour guide!
Anna LOVES it when you kiss/tickle her belly; she'll yell "sit down" at you until you do it again and again.
Our first family photo since Josh's arrival!
Atlantis cleared the tower.

Right up until just minutes before the launch, no one was even sure if it would be able to go up due to the weather - rain was nearby, and there were a lot of clouds overhead. But literally right before it was time, the sky above the launch pad opened just enough for the shuttle to go through. Amazing!

It was a bittersweet day - so proud of what our country has been able to accomplish, but sad to see the end of an era!

1 comment:

Brianna said...

Wow. What fantastic pictures!