Monday, November 08, 2010

A Trip to the Scheduled Launch STS-133

My sister has a friend who works in External Affairs at the Johnson Space Center who was able to get us three VIP passes to the scheduled launch of STS-133, the space shuttle Discovery. We were to watch from Banana Creek, some 3 1/2 miles from launch pad 39A. The only way to be any closer is if you were part of a rescue team sitting in an APC a half mile from the launch pad.

Despite the shuttle still sitting on launch pad 39A as I type, it was still a great trip.
It was Air Force Week at Cocoa Beach so we went to the airshow. Saw several demonstrations including a F-15E (the baddest F-15 there is).  

And a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both jets were badass, but the F/A-18 was super bad.


On Halloween night we went to a party hosted by Michael Coats, director of the Johnson Space Center.


There I got to meet a few astronauts including Mike Good (STS-125, the last Hubble repair mission, and STS-132).


Plus I got to visit with Nicko McBrain, drummer for the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He was funny.


On to the KSC we drove around the VAB (vehicle assembly building) and had a photo op outside. This pic was taken from inside the bus, hence the glare. I liked this angle better than the photo op they gave us. Last time I was there (1978) my brother and I got to go inside the building, but that was during the transition between the Saturn rockets and the space shuttle system.


Mobile launch pad for the space shuttle. (Endeavor will use this one on its last launch next spring.)


Launch pad 39A and there sits STS-133. (taken through the bus's window)
 
This pic was taken from the bus as we drove around launch complex 39A.
The orbiter is hidden away behind that gray room-like thing. It is swung away prior to fueling and launch.

My sister and brother-in-law
And as far as I know, STS-133 still sits on the launch pad having missed its launch window, plus finding a crack in its ET (external fuel tank). Launch has been rescheduled for November 30.

3 comments:

Monet said...

This was such an awesome experience! I'm sad we didn't get to see the launch but it looks as if it were a Godsend that Discovery didn't launch as scheduled, due to unforseen problems.
Godspeed Discovery! When it does launch.
Although we didnt see the launch, I loved seeing my brother, the Mimbres Man!

Mimbres Man said...

I was really bummed getting back on the plane and not seeing Discovery blast off. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. I doubt I'll ever have that chance again. Only maybe if the launch is pushed back into December...

I'd be on it.

Chaco Author said...

Awesome pictures Barin. Comes to make me wonder if I should build a replica of the mobile launch pad as a bed.