Sights and Sounds #17 – Shuttle Launch Edition!

by Jamie Sanford on May 22, 2011

Sights and Sounds #17, SHUTTLE LAUNCH EDITION!

Once I realized that my husband and I would be in Florida when the launch of STS-134 featuring the Space Shuttle Endeavour was rescheduled, I knew we had to try and go to see it.  I had previously seen 2 shuttle launches in my life, both when I was a kid living in Florida.  (One was at night and was ridiculously cool.) We got up at 5 am at my parents’ house on the West coast of Florida and drive across the state to the other coast to Titusville, FL.

Check out the blue marker which shows the exact spot where we planted to watch the shuttle launch.  We were on the end of a private dock, all made possible by paying the kid at the mailbox an easy $20.

This is the view down the walkway to the dock where we sat to watch the launch.  We sat on the end of the dock on the far left.

We were incredibly lucky because we parked the car around 8:20am, and the shuttle launched on schedule at 8:56am.  We couldn’t hear a countdown so I kept checking Twitter and the time on my cell phone, which worked out just fine, as we were posed with cameras ready when we started seeing the giant plumes of smoke coming out of the bottom of the shuttle.  Here is a selection of my photos from the launch.

DSC02499DSC02504DSC02520DSC02533DSC02537DSC02541DSC02543And just like that, the shuttle was gone. Damn overcast sky blocked the long-term view we would have normally had.  No matter, it was still AMAZING.

The visual is certainly very strong, but in person, the sound cannot be understated. You don’t hear anything when it launches (except for the people around you who are cheering), but then the sound catches up and it’s like thunder coming at you and your chest rumbles from the inside and yeah, you can never know that from watching on television.

Here are some videos that were taken from Space View Park, which was right next to where we were on the dock.

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This one has theatrical music and a time lapse!

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This one is a different view, but it features the rumble at around 1:10. Please note that this camera in no way really captures it.

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This one is great, but you want to fast forward to the 3 minute mark to when the shuttle actually goes up.

Me and my husband Will, happy on the dock after the launch!

So there it is. We had a great time, it was totally worth the sleep deprivation, and I really want to go back to Florida to see it again in July. It’s doubtful that we will make it, and I feel like a million people will show up. (I heard there were only a few hundred thousand people out with us.)  That being said, I totally recommend going to anyone who is able to make it to Florida for STS-135, the last launch in the current space shuttle program.

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