Sunday, November 16, 2008

Endeavour launch | Between bites, some lights

endeavour_0240
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.

3 comments:

shoyu said...

Yeah, everything is better in Titusville.

Jessica said...

It sure is! Wait, was that sarcasm?

shoyu said...

You betcha!