Living in central Florida, I’ve become accustomed to seeing the space shuttle come and go over the years. It’s amazing to be able to walk out my front or back door and watch as seven astronauts blast off into space. You feel it in your bones when the shuttle returns and those sonic booms hit. This morning I heard the sonic booms for the very last time.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve taken the space shuttle program for granted. I get goose bumps every time I watch that spaceship launch into space. I remember where I was when Challenger exploded. I hold my breath during every launch until I see those solid rocket boosters separate from the shuttle. I remember when Columbia disintegrated upon reentry. I hold my breath every time she’s coming in for a landing until she’s safe and sound and stopped on the runway. The space program has always awed me.
Living her for all these years, I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I only made it over to the coast for one launch. It was the 3rd to the last launch. Seeing it up close was awe inspiring. I can’t really describe the feeling of watching that great ship launch over the water. The roar of her engines is something I can’t accurately describe.
As I lay in bed waiting for the booms this morning, I was happy, relieved and sad when I finally heard them. Happy and relieved because she made it home on her last flight safe and sound. Sad because it is the last time I will ever hear that boom boom. I have an immense amount of respect for all the astronauts that have taken that brave ride into space. I’m sad to see the program come to an end.
These are some pictures I took at the launch I was privileged enough to see up close.