Saturday, June 14, 2008

STS-124 Shuttle Discovery Lands

We were in Titusville to see Shuttle Discovery land across the river from the landing strip at Kennedy Point Park. The large building in the distance is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). There was a small group of people gathered. One guy had a radio tuned in to NASA's live feed. Once we heard that the shuttle was crossing the Yucatan peninsula on its way to the Gulf we all got up out of shaded picnic pavillion to look around in the sky. It was a hazy day, and we were trying to spot anything in the air. There were a lot of military aircraft like weather planes, T38 shuttle training jets, and such flying around. Suddenly a commercial jet came from a nearby airport flying really low. It made a thundering noise and my first thought was that something was terribly wrong. As the jet got louder we heard the double sonic boom from the space shuttle. The jet continued flying low and to the north. The problem was that the shuttle was also flying north to turn around and line up with the runway. The guy with the NASA radio said, "That guy is in so much trouble." The commercial jet was in the wrong place, but nothing bad happened. We finally saw the shuttle once it was over the runway. It was interesting, but not as dramatic as a launch. It looked like an airplane landing from a distance.

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