We Have Lift Off


Ever since I saw the movie Space Camp, it’s been a desire of mine to see a space shuttle launch, up close and in person.  I’m not a space nut or anything, but I do find the whole concept of space travel fascinating.  And while I don’t have a technical bucket list, so to say, if I did, seeing a launch in person would most definitely be on that list.   Which, is why we switched our vacation plans around last fall and took our family to Florida, to try and see the last launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery and one of the last U.S. space shuttle launches ever.

But, as I wrote about back in November, the Discovery experienced some technical difficulties which postponed the launch until February 24, 2011.  Can you imagine if we had waited it out?  Can you say “Longest Camping Trip Ever!”  or “Mama is going bananas!”??

I am a friend of the KSC on face book and I have been following the updates since last summer.  (OK, so maybe I am a little of a space nut…or just a nut) and as the rescheduled date drew nearer there was a very big part of me that wanted to hop in the van, drive to Florida and watch it. 

Shuttle Discovery on Launch padInstead, the kids and I watched the take off on NASA channel.   It wasn’t the way I had hoped to watch the launch, but it was still a special moment none the less.  As we watched some of the preparations prior to take off, the kids and I were quite excited to see things that we saw on our visit to the Kennedy Space Center.  Because they had scheduled the launch for the week we were there, we got to see the shuttle  out on the launch pad.  It was cool to see it on tv and say, “Hey, we saw that!” 


As the minutes ticked by (we started watching an hour prior to blast off),my thoughts turned to the only other launch I recall watching on TV.  I was in first grade and our class had gone to the media center to watch the launch on a little tv.  It was a big deal b/c a teacher was on the space shuttle that time.  Many of you may remember that tragic January day in 1986 when the Challenger crashed.   As if he was reading my mind, my son asked, “Mom, if the space shuttle crashes, you’ll stop recording it right?”  A few minutes later he commented on how brave these astronauts were to risk flying into space.  He then led us in prayer for the safety of the astronauts about to blast off into space.    It was a sobering and touching moment.

IMG_9027As we got to T-10 minutes, we all got a bit excited.  We were eating popcorn and my youngest had dawned an astronaut costume.  The oldest 2 didn’t have costumes so they improvised with boots, coats, and winter hats…Hey, whatever works, right?

And then, it was time… 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…BLAST OFF!!!

It was a successful launch, and right now the Discovery is in space on its way to the International Space Station.    There are 2 more launches scheduled for the space program… one in April and one in June.  I would be lying if I didn’t confess that part of me is still scheming to see if there is a way for us to go and watch one.   If not, you better believe we’ll be watching NASA TV those days…perhaps giving further evidence to the fact that I may indeed be a space nut.


  1. What a cute astronaut! What a great learning experience for all of them And getting to see the Discovery on the pad made it very real for them to see on TV

  2. I also wanted to use this as an educational experience for my 3 year old. So all day, I talked it up and she was so excited to see the lift off. At T-8 seconds, the excitment overwhelmed her and she yelled, I have to poop and ran to the potty, missing the entire liftoff...Thankfully I was recording it and a few minutes later, she got to see it. Apparently, she is not astronaut material...right at "go time" she has to "go!"

  3. If you consider seeing Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks many times over then I'm a fan of space exploration also. Well, that and I have been to the Kennedy Space Center on my one trip to Florida and someother museum there about space and astronauts. Of course the fact that I can't recall its name doesn't bode well with my claims at being a fan, huh?

    I also didn't watch the lift off of Discovery either. Please please please remind me in Apri to tune in with the kids.

    I'll be your bff forever.

    I'm stunned at your son's maturity level. It's beyond his years. What a special little guy you have there!

  4. Oh, and tell me this...why are there so few launches left? Certainly we aren't done in space, right? What's the story? Do educate!


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