Shuttle Launch {Florida}

I'm not a fan of sci-fi.  I really don't like it.  I don't care what people say, Star Wars is lame.  I'm sorry. But real outer-space? Now that is really cool.

I mentioned in my "stranded in Florida" post that we got to see the space shuttle, Endeavor, launch into space.  Here's the 411. The DL.  The full-scoop on that experience ;D

Part of the best thing about an "accidental" vacation is that you really have NO plans.  We had our faces and our rental car, and Florida was our oyster.  So one day, as we headed to the beach, we saw lots of RV's camping out along the highway.  After a quick iPhone google, we discovered that the last night-time launch ever in the space program was going to be happening that night!  We (after a little debate) decided to go to the 4:14 am launch. Um, yeah. 4:14 am.  I haven't seen that hour... since... probably when I needed to get a drink of water in the middle of the night last year.  It was early.  Since our hotel was over an hour away from the launch site, we decided to just keep busy.  Target shopping, late dinner, more Target shopping, late movie and then some waiting (and sleeping in the back of the car for me ;D) at the launch site.  So sadly, the launch was called off 9 minutes before it went up.  Major bummer.  Not as big a bummer for us as it was for the astronauts who were all strapped in, but still a bummer.  We rolled back to our hotel at about 6:11 am and slowly stumbled and oozed our way to bed.  The next night, at 2:00 am we got back in the car and prayed it wouldn't be canceled again!

Everything looked good, so I happily grabbed my 200 prime lens as we waited.  After taking a quick "tester" picture, I was truly disappointed when I saw this:

I was like "Man!  We aren't going to be able to see anything!  We came all this way and it's just a little speck!"

The flight deck was counting down on the radios, the silhouettes of people wrapped in blankets decked the hill, Dre, Becca and I had our cameras and iPhones ready - and I was still "hmph-ing" about how far away we were.

Everyone.  Don't worry.  When a space shuttle launches... you can see it.  Don't worry

The fire from that blast literally lights the area for MILES.  It was complete darkness, then complete day-time light in seconds.  It was insanity.  I can't believe that really happens. 

And, oh manny, that ship FLEW. 

After it went into "turbo launch" we couldn't see it anymore.  Boom. 10 seconds. Gone.

By the time we had gotten into our cars and turned around to head back, the shuttle was over Spain.  RIDICulous.  That was such an awesome memory and truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. 


  1. I think I wept. What an incredible experience and a great memory...

  2. You were RIGHT next to my house!!! LOL
    It's beautiful though, isn't it? Night launches are so amazing. :)

  3. WOW!! That's awesome!!!!

  4. wow, that 5th pic is my fave...awesome!

  5. Wow. That is so cool. I mean how many people can say they were up at 4:00 one morning, then were curious enough to get back there the next morning at 2? Great pics, by the way!

  6. Hey, Kristen -
    I AM SOOO excited that you got to see Endeavour fly!! And night launches are the most amazing ... I was born and raised here, so I've seen many a launch, but the most expectant and captivating ones of all are night launches. :) IT reminds me of how in seconds, utter darkness spreads into light - like the coming of Christ, in utter joy and singing and light it will be. :)

    I was giggling by the first picture, because I knew you wouldn't be disappointed. :D Hee hee....

    We only have 4 space shuttle missions left, I'm afraid ... and I'm more than sorry to see that happen. I'm overjoyed you go to see that though, and I really enjoyed seeing your shots - awesome!

    To Dre: Many the times that my cheeks have been wet or washed down with tears after seeing such a launch, as are my father's .... particularly after we lost Columbia. We never go a launch without praying for the crew and the ship, and a "Thank you Lord" when she is safely out of view.

    Kristen - thank you for coming to FL. you made Kaylee and I REALLY STINKIN SHRIEKING HAPPY.... and we didn't even see you. hahahaha haha.....

    With love,
    ~ Jean Marie

    Oh! Endeavour came back on Sunday night at 10:16pm, with her glorious two sonic booms that basically sound like someone shot off a cannon or shotgun next to your ear. hahaha! :)

  7. I just wanted to stop by and tell you how jealous I am of you witnessing a space shuttle launch on your accidental vacation. I've been on purposeful vacations to Florida and hoped that while there a space shuttle would launch, and no such luck. Boo on it. But great photos, it seemed like a pretty remarkable thing to witness.

  8. I'm so glad we went. Especially the second time. ;-) Purty amazing.

  9. Wow, how exciting!! Awesome pictures. Memories made by accident are the best!

  10. Hello, Kristen!

    That it spectacular!

    Maybe you remember me writing you a few weeks ago. (I asked about your camera.) Well, I bought a Canon 5D Mark II and I am really impressed with it. I have a 50mm lens and it's great for portraits--but I'm going to be shooting some pictures at my sister's wedding next month and I'm going to need another lens. Is there one you would recommend? I'm sorry to be a bother, but I really love your photography and I want to do a good job for my sister and her hubby-to-be.

    Thanks! =)


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