One of the search terms I keep getting in my statistics is the following phrase: “astronaut farmer wallpaper”, in variant forms. So, here I am to fuel the entertainment for this search once again by blogging about watching my first live Webcast on the space shuttle. I remember watching this stuff via television when I was younger, and this Webcast recaptured and conjured up some of those memories again.
NASA launch of Endeavor at 6:36 PM EDT on August 8, 2007
Photo credit: NASA
The official countdown clock is shown, in sync with Mission Control. While waiting for the launch, a picture from the inside of the shuttle looking out (to the ground, etc.) is taken. The tension mounts considerably as the shuttle launch is about to commence. You could cut the tension with a knife, especially since this launch sequence bears remarkable similarity to the launch of the Challenger shuttle (that had disastrous consequences). Everyone is in good spirits, and no one is expecting failure here, though all precautions have been taken, just in case. Mission director Michael Leinbach encourages all by saying, “Good luck, godspeed and have some fun up there.”
The engines are humming, and the ladders and scaffolding moves out of the way. It’s one minute to go and counting. The shuttle’s computers take over the countdown, and it starts the launch!! Watch the rockets fly in a blaze of glory! Everything goes well, and the boosters prepare to separate (and do) within two minutes of launch. The shuttle continues at 3400 miles per hour going upward to over 4000 mph. Over half a ton of fuel is already expended (now that’s a gas bill!). Three good fuel cells and power cells; the engines keep the Endeavor going onward through the sky, gaining altitude. The shuttle swivels to enhance communications. “Go for the plus x, go for the pitch.” is said several times, perhaps for encouragement, as well as to convey instructions. External tanks prepare to separate, do, and the Endeavor is in orbit around the Earth. It’s time for the Astronauts to get to work, capturing photos and videos for analysis. A smooth launch that takes all of ten minutes.
Wow…what a rush of emotions! I realize its antiquated to be excited about this stuff, but I’m reliving a moment, so thanks for bearing with me through it all.
Godspeed, everyone..and remember to have fun out there! A good message to remember, I think, especially in time of upset. 🙂