Last Chance to See (Part 8)

Murray Bost Henson was a journalist on one of the papers with small pages and big print. It would be pleasant to be able to say that he was none the worse for this but, sadly, this was not the case. He happened to be the only journalist Arthur knew, so Arthur phoned him anyway. ~ Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

We remain on the Space Coast, and as we contemplate our experiences this week, we have a few minor tidbits to share, things we’ve learned or newly considered.

1. You CAN catch up on sleep. Between Wednesday morning, when we rose from bed to begin this current adventure, to Friday evening, after we saw Atlantis launch and, later, stayed up to watch Beyond Atlantis on CNN, we slept just 4-1/2 hours out of 60. We found that 14 hours of sleep Friday night put us right back on track.

Atlantis White Room (where astronauts strap on life support) and Crew Cabin

2. CNN is now at the Kennedy Space Center doing a special report. We saw Anderson Cooper at the launch, and we hung out with CNN’s John Zarella, the host of Beyond Atlantis, during our visit for Endeavour‘s launch and Atlantis‘s rollover. The News Center is officially closed to all but CNN, so we are posting our blog piece at the McDonald’s.

3. The regular KSC press corps consists of space geeks who know their stuff and believe space exploration is important. Sure, they have various criticisms, too. But they recognized that Friday’s post-launch news briefing was the last one that would bring them together as a group of strangers who had formed relationships over years of intermittent gatherings here. When Mike Moses and Mike Leinbach, the two launch managers who always show up for the briefings to actually talk about what’s going on, entered the room, it only took one person to start the loud round of applause. (And who might that instigator have been?)

4. Journalists ask questions. Journalists aren’t afraid to not know even basic facts. Journalists share information. One reporter asked Doug, “It’s Johnson Space Center, right?” Another reporter asked Anna when the first Moon landing occurred. Lack of knowledge or information is a problem continually tackled by journalists.

We've been up close with Atlantis.

5. The KSC media officers will answer whatever question is posed to them. Allard Beutel explained to us that there are various reasons astronauts may be in different seats during descent than they were for ascent, as will be the case for Sts-135. The commander and pilot keep their assigned seats, but others sometimes swap. For a large crew (not the small crew of STS-135), a couple of astronauts on the middeck may want a view and, therefore, swap seats for reentry with a couple of crew on the flight deck, where there are windows. Or the seat switching may be related to tasks for which each astronaut is primarily responsible.

We have lots more to share, but we’re off for a couple of news-gathering activities this afternoon. Keep checking back at Lofty Ambitions throughout the STS-135 mission. In fact, if you don’t want to miss any tidbits along the way, subscribe (see the top of the right sidebar).

One thought on “Last Chance to See (Part 8)

  1. thank you so much for making us feel like we are there……..I was in the basement with the volume full blast for the count down….then I cheered louder than I do at wrigley. MNC

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