Saturday, November 21, 2009

Watching a live space shuttle launch

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.

Fun for the whole family

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 gives autographs.

The STS-129 mission patch

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 source code!

COBOL code flashes in the space shuttle simulator!

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.

Here are my full notes on viewing a space shuttle launch.

Full video of STS-129 launch