Space Shuttle launch - STS-129
Independent travel tips for the professional at Leisure
With only five more space shuttle missions, the time is
growing short if you want to see one of the "monster rockets" blast into outer
space. We chose to go watch
STS-129, the launch of
the space shuttle Atlantis.
We won't see giant rockets again until 2030
when the Mars missions begin, so many folks but viewing a shuttle launch on
their bucket lists. Here are some tips:
start by purchasing tickets from NASA for $40 each. These tickets allow
you to enter Kennedy Space center, where you witness the shuttle launch from
just a few miles away. They close the gates promptly at 9:00 AM, so allow
at least one hour during your drive to the cape. Choose a launch
date that has a large launch window, as weather delays can ruin your experience,
especially if the launch is delayed several days.
The ground have plenty to keep you occupied until the launch, including a
full-sized space shuttle, and a space shuttle flight simulator.
They have a space shuttle simulator, and I found interesting
that the code displayed on the launch screens is COBOL!
They have a jumbotron since you cannot see the launch pad
NASA has a great gift shop with all sorts of STS-129 goodies,
hats, mission patches, you name it, and at fair prices (a STS-129 cap was only
$13). It's not all just junk either. They had an Apollo 11 mission
plaque signed by all crew members for only $20,000. This is not a bad
deal, since Neil Armstrong rarely signs autographs.
The launch itself is indescribable, the ground shakes and you can
feel the heat from the rockets.
The kids like to use the word "awesome", but this event is
truly awe inspiring.