Friday, August 28, 2009

Midnight Ride of Space Shuttle Discovery for STS-128

The light was beautifully reflected in the Indian River. For a few seconds it was so bright that it was like looking at the sun. Then the space shuttle continued to roar into the sky illuminating swirls of clouds as it went. It was an awesome sight.

This is the launch pad and the Vehicle Assembly Building earlier that night. We were a little over 9 miles away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Space Shuttle Launch Scrubbed due to Lightning

Space Shuttle Discovery was on the launch pad for mission STS 128. We were across the Indian River, about 9.25 miles away. It is unusual to have hardly any wind when you're near the open water. It gave us the opportunity to take some photos with longer exposures.

Less than 1/2 hour later the sky opened up with rain and lightning over the launch pad. Our area was dry. This photo is a still from a video we took of the lightning. The big square on the horizon is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The space shuttle launchpad is the light spot to the left of the VAB. At 11:43pm a lightning strike was detected 6 miles east of the launch pad.

The square building silhouetted on the horizon is the VAB. I can't imagine what this must have sounded like to the astronauts waiting inside the space shuttle.

The countdown was too close (in the 9 Minute Hold) to let the storms pass and the launch was scrubbed due to the weather.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun in the Waves at Cocoa Beach

Here's the famous Tiki Bar at the end of The Cocoa Beach Pier. We came to the east coast to see the launch of space shuttle Discovery and stayed at a hotel on Cocoa Beach. I had never seen waves so perfectly tubular and could hardly wait to get into the water! We used body boards and rode one wave after the other.

We must have hit the beach at just the right time. The waves were coming in at even intervals. There wasn't any waiting for the perfect wave. It was more a matter of getting up again to ride the next one in.

We met a lot of nice people at the beach. There were some other Floridian couples staying at the hotel. We also met a group from Australia. The hot topic of the day was where to see the space shuttle launch.

The rocket launch towers at Cape Canaveral were visible from the beach.

We walked along the Pier and took pictures of the beach at sunset. Then we went back to the hotel to nap. The space shuttle launch was scheduled for 1:36am.