In a stroke of luck emerging out of hard work, we have been granted press credentials to attend next week’s scheduled launch of space shuttle Endeavour. Both of us! In the press stands! As close as the public can get!
Doug got the approval from NASA earlier this week. Elation, from the Latin meaning to bring out of, as in Doug was brought out of a funk. Elation, meaning joyfulness or exaltation of spirit as a result of success or relief. As much as he had looked forward to walking the four miles from the motel to the coast, then holding his viewing spot for hours among throngs of people, Doug is now looking forward to being right there with the rest of the press corps.
Shortly after the news that Doug was approved for media credentials for the impending mission, the White House announced that the Obama family plans to join Lofty Ambitions to view the launch. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the wife of STS-134 commander Mark Kelly, plans to be there too. (We’ve written before about Kelly and Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound, and about astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly. Click HERE to read Obama’s write-up of Giffords as one of Time’s 100 most influential people.) Okay, the press viewing area is separated from the bleachers designated for officials and astronauts’ families—a move made after the Challenger accident—but not by very much. It’s easy waving distance. Kennedy Space Center employees get a little closer to launch pad 39A.
Doug will be covering the event for Knox Magazine, the publication of our alma mater and of Barack Obama’s, if you count honorary degrees. Anna will be covering, once again, the end of the space shuttle program for Chapman Magazine. Our article on November’s not-launch of Discovery is in press right now with that publication. Of course, our series about that trip—“Countdown to the Cape” (October 27 through November 7)—is available right here at Lofty Ambitions, too.
We wish we could go a couple of days before launch for all the press events, but Anna teaches on Wednesday night, so we’ll swoop in the night before the launch. (Don’t worry, we already arranged to have someone watch our humble abode while we’re away.) We’ll miss the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure, but we have close-ups of that from Discovery. If the launch doesn’t face delay, tanking will begin at 6:22a.m. Friday, April 29, just after the crew wakes up. We’ll already be awake and heading toward the press site.
The launch is scheduled for 3:47p.m. that day, and we should have several posts to share! In the coming few weeks, we’ll also continue our series on Fukushima Daiichi and how we talk about radioactivity (March 16 through April 20 thus far). But check back on Monday for Part 2 in this new series that starts today: “A Launch to Remember.”