Not bragging (well maybe a little bit) but I’ve been very lucky to get to do a lot of really cool stuff in my time. One of the coolest was a couple of years ago when I got to go to a shuttle launch. That alone would be pretty cool, but my sister-in-law happens to be an engineer at NASA (yeah, I know, right?), so we got to go to the launch as her guest.
NASA employees and contractors enter a lottery of sorts for each launch, and the winners get to take a single carload of people into a viewing area that is really close to the launch pad. “Close” here means a couple of miles, but to give you an idea, the media was positioned directly behind us. If you’re familiar with Cape Canaveral, we were in an area roped off right next to the Vehicle Assembly Building. As you can see from this video, there are no people in front of the area where we were seated. This is as close as any civilian can get, and the non-civilians who can get closer can’t get much closer.
Although this was shot with a simple hand held video camera, I think it at least captures how loud the space shuttle is, and as you can see by the vertical line that is basically burned into the frame, it is insanely bright, even on a sunny Florida day.
The first day we went to see the launch it was scrapped about 20 minutes before liftoff, but we came back a few days later to get the best fireworks show in the country on July 4, 2006. So there you go…beat that for cool things!