Ever since I was a kid and saw the movie Space Camp, I’ve wanted to see a shuttle launch.  Last spring when Scott told me that NASA was cancelling their shuttle launch program and their were only 3 left, I began scheming a way to get there and see one.

We planned our entire vacation around the November launch.  And while our trip to Florida last November, was one of our best family vacations ever, we didn’t get to see a launch.

Two shuttle launches came and went and I kept wanting to find a way to go.  But, work was too busy, weekends were booked and well, Florida vacations are expensive.  We just couldn’t make it work.  Finally a week before the last ever shuttle launch, we began talking seriously about a 4 day FL driving excursion.  32 hours down and back with a 2 minute show in the middle.  Can we make that work?  Should we bring the kids?  We tossed back and forth about what to do.

Finally Tuesday night at 9pm, we sat down with an actual pro/con list and decided to go AND to bring the kids. 

This left us with about 24 hours to pack and prepare.

We got to Titusville Florida at 3:30am on Friday.  We were blessed with an amazing parking spot.  Scott got us set up while the kids and I rested in the van.   A little after 4am we left the van and that was the last rest my daughters got.  It was “squatting” time at Space view park. 


This is the site that greeted us across the Indian River.  It was so cool to see it lit up at night.  “I see the space shuttle” my youngest daughter exclaimed with glee!”


Then we set out to wait 7 hrs hoping the launch would go off.  The weather IMG_4148forecast wasn’t good and we were due to get rained on as we waited.  Praise God the rain never came but even at 8am, they were only giving a 30% chance of favorable weather for lift off.   We waited, napped, colored, snacked, snuggled, and waited some more.   I was greatly encouraged by the face book comments I kept getting on my phone with people telling me they were praying those clouds away and hoping for a lift off. 

By 11am, excitement was mounding.  People were getting on their feet, we were making sure we had visual.  Someone brought a radio and broadcasted the countdown.  “Please, oh please, let it go off,” Scott and I kept pleading inside.  We were hoping against hope that it would go off because 1. we really wanted to see it and 2.  we couldn’t imagine the thought of pulling another all nighter with the kids right after this one.  They really were amazing but every kids has a limit (and so do parents).

The countdown began….. from one minute down…. Scott and I looked at each other, “This is it… it’s going to happen…. we were bouncing with excitement” and then they hit 31 seconds and hold.   “NO, please NO!” 

problem quickly resolved (hooray for those NASA engineers) and they were counting down to countdown….

Finally we hit that blessed 10 second mark and then 3…2…1…. we saw the fire under the shuttle and screams of joy rang out at the park.


It was incredible!! 


Truly, incredible… tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched it lift off.


Earlier in the day I had told the kids what an awesome, historical moment this would be.  “This will be in history books some day and you will get to tell your kids and your grandkids that you saw the last shuttle launch.” 


After it blasted off into the clouds and the sound made its way across the river, my son looked over at me and said, “Mom, I will definitely remember this.”

So will I, my son, so will I. 


  1. I'm overjoyed with this experience for your family! And what great pictures, too! I watched the launch on the NASA website (which was very cool), but nothing could be as awesome as seeing it LIVE, in person! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  2. We were cheering for your whole family during your trip down and as we waited to hear if it would launch! SO happy that this dream has come true for you and that you got to share it with those precious babies!!

  3. I was so excited when I went back on Facebook and saw that you had liftoff. I couldn't wait to see you pictures and read your blog. I had tears going down my cheeks by the time I read the last line myself. What a dream come true! I would truly love to have been there to have seen this amazing event!

  4. I know how hard you agonized over the plans. You and Scott definitely made the right decision. It was truly an awesome experience that the kids will remember (most of them anyway) I know how much you wanted to see this too. SO HAPPY for you :-) Great pictures as usual.

  5. When I grow up I want to be just like you guys. End of story. This is by far in the top three coolest ever Circus Family moments. (And I love how I have a Top Ten list dedicated to your family...).

    Ever since I saw Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 I've had a little space exploration fascination going on. In any case, I can understand the fascination with it and when I was in Florida seven years ago or so I did get to visit the space center and musuem and such. Can't imagine seeing a launch, though....

    And to have seen the very last one??!?! Awesome. Just awesome. I got goosebumps just watching it on tv, which thanks to your fb updates I knew it was happening or else we may have missed it on tv too! Noah has the Imaginex Space Shuttle and really enjoyed seeing Atlantis blast off. So thank you for drawing such interest and excitement over the event so that even we at home could follow along!!!

    Great recap and pictures!!


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