We finally saw a Shuttle Launch. We expected the sun to be coming up when it launched but instead it was still dark with a hint of blue when the launch began. It was the night launch we always wanted to see!
As some of you know, we attempted to see a launch a couple of months earlier. It was worth the wait. If you want more information about this most recent mission, the mission name is STS-132 and their website is http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html.
The sound was very delayed. This may have been the point that we actually started to hear the loud sound. I also think that by looking at this picture that this could be when the boosters separated? We have seen two other launches from central Florida at night and could see the boosters come away from the shuttle very clearly, but up close we had trouble deciding when that actually happened.
The boosters are close together and still the brightest light in the sky. They are becoming more of a simmering red colour here.
They have burned out and fallen here and the shuttle is moving on in space. There is a large contrail after the shuttle and it appears to be flying downward but actually it's flying around the earth at an imaginable speed. We watched it as it went over the horizon.
After attempting this a couple of months before we were much better prepared this time. We left early, knew where to park, slept in the van with the blankets and pillows from our resort, and stayed put after the launch until traffic started to move. While relaxing in our parking spot we watched the smoke from the launch transform into an interesting glowing cloud (from the sunrise). I think that it almost looked like a cartoon face in the sky.
Leaving our spot we crossed a bridge and saw the boats. They had a nice view and it looked like it'd be very peaceful in the boats. They couldn't park on the other side because there is a military helicopter that patrols all night long making sure that the whole area around the launch site is clear of people.
The kids were pooped! It was a long night sleeping in the van. At least we tried another route back to our condo this time and it paid off. We were at a Waffle House in Orlando eating in no time at all!