At about 7pm, Lovely Wife and I left the house to try to go to the Melbourne Causeway to watch the Space Shuttle lift off. Hopefully.
I had my trusty camera with me:
This is a crop of one of my shots to show Atlantis better.
I had to blow this next one up about a billion, squillion times.
We live something like 30 or 40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center, but even though the shuttle is small from this far away, it's incredibly impressive anyway.
We parked on a good spot, looking north up the Indian River Lagoon, and waited.
We got out of the car at 7:25pm, and leaned on the bridge's guard rail and waited.
At 7:38, right on time, Atlantis lifted off.
In about 3 minutes or so, the thing was out of sight, having shed the two solid boosters.
You can see the light of the flames of the shuttle's engines for a bit longer, but they soon disappear.
We left, and headed up the road, and on the radio, they announced that the shuttle was in orbit, was 120 miles up, and doing great.
At this point, we were less than two miles from where we watched the liftoff. It takes eight and a half minutes to reach orbit. Amazing.
To see the shuttle do it's thing never gets old.
The morning rains and bad weather had my back freaking out and I ate pain pills like House all day, but it was still productive, and ended beautifully with the successful shuttle launch and an amazing sky just before it finally got dark.
And one of the coolest parts was that just after the shuttle had disappeared from sight, the sound finally made it to Melbourne and the rumble was startling, even this far away. I don't worship men, but they sure can do some amazing things sometimes.