Sunday, November 16, 2008

Endeavour launch | Between bites, some lights

Endeavour, as seen from a Longwood parking lot.

While enjoying a meal of veal and authentic north Italian lasagna, I stepped outside to watch shuttle Endeavour's liftoff at 7:55 p.m. Friday. I hadn't missed a launch since moving to Florida, and I wouldn't let a wedding rehearsal dinner put a cork in that.

I stood by the curb. I looked around. I needed to face east, but I didn't know which way was east. I had left the restaurant two minutes before launch time. I knew that if I didn't see the shuttle, there was something wrong or there were too many clouds.

A waitress at Mona Lisa Ristorante in Longwood used a smoke break as excuse to watch one of the greatest shows on Earth. Between drags, she yelled to me as I looked up, down, side to side.

"You out here for the shuttle launch?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said. "But I don't know where to look."

"Oh. ... Oh, oh. Look behind you," she said.

I turned around and saw the glow. Someone had just lit a big candle above Kennedy Space Center. It was the sun in the night sky.

I was 60 miles from KSC, but NASA's performance again did not disappoint. Endeavour was a backward shooting star as it made its way toward space. It arched over the moon and separated from its twin solid rocket boosters. Then it was a twinkling star still moving into the distance.

Like a good joke, the launch was something you would only understand if you were there. I wasn't close - say, in Titusville or Cape Canaveral - so it didn't translate well through photography. I had to snap a shot, though, just to add to my collection.

Two minutes later, I again was eating lasagna made with crepes instead of pasta.


shoyu said...

Yeah, everything is better in Titusville.

Anonymous said...

It sure is! Wait, was that sarcasm?

shoyu said...

You betcha!