Man, sometimes you just can’t buy a break.
My pal Tyler and I headed down to Orlando on Wednesday to attend the last launch of the shuttle Endeavour. We’ve been planning this in theory for half a year, when we both expressed interest in seeing Discovery’s last launch in the fall. With my graduation from Thompson River University in January, I decided that I’d rather use the money I would have spent to go to my grad ceremony to go to the shuttle launch…and the planning began.
We were lucky enough to get six tickets for attendance at Kennedy Space Center, which is a good (but not fabulous) venue to see the launch from. We despaired at getting tickets to see it from the KSC Causeway, which is the top location, and the closest, to see it from. And then, we did, through Florida Gator Tours. Awesome. We booked for both of us, as well as Gareth, to see the launch. And then, NASA moved the launch because of a scheduling problem at the ISS. (Really, NASA? Really?)
So, (to summarize much heartache) as a result, Gareth couldn’t go any more, and both Tyler an I had to change our flight schedules and accommodations. All done (at significant expense). We arrive in Orlando, me five hours behind schedule, Tyler about 10 hours (ask him for the details — it was a nightmare, regardless).
So, Tyler and I headed to the shuttle launch meet on Friday morning at 4:30 am EST. Argh — so….freaking…early. We arrived at the Festival Bay mall parking lot as instructed, and dealt with the (a) lack of information from the tour company, and (b) lack of info from the mall staff about parking costs/requirements/etc. See the chaos below:
On the bus, we headed out to the Kennedy Space Center, about a 60 minute drive. Tyler slept.
Upon arrival, we headed over to see the IMAX 3D presentation on the Hubble telescope, wandered around in the rocket garden, where they have a swath of old rockets used for previous launches, and then lined up for our bus out to the causeway for watching the launch.
Literally, as we drove onto the causeway, our tour guide said, “Guys, we’re sorry, but she’s not going to go today.”
We had enough chance to snap a few pictures from the causeway on really, really long lenses and zooms, and bailed back to the pickup location, getting back about 4:00 pm.
Now, we’re waiting to hear when the launch will go. [Update: Since it's now no earlier than May 8th, we're outta here Monday. Dammit.] Monday the 2nd is the best guess, but the mechanical issues are almost certainly going to push it back further than that — and that, my friends, is the end of us seeing the launch of STS-134. More to follow if more changes.