The End of the End (Part 1)

Doug, just badged

Yesterday, we flew from California to Florida. Two years ago, we began our adventure in earnest, and we’ve followed the end of the space shuttle since then. Two years ago on November 1, Discovery faced a launch delay. Today, we woke and went to Denny’s for pancakes and eggs, trying our best to get our heads adjusted to the three-hour time difference and face the end of the end of the shuttle program.

Anna & Doug as the KSC News Center

We drove the familiar route to the badging office, showed the requisite two IDs, filled out the requisite paperwork, and clipped what might be our last Kennedy Space Center (KSC) media badges to our persons.

Then, we made our familiar way to the News Center at KSC. On the way, we drove part of the route that Atlantis will traverse tomorrow, and we saw the structure where the orbiter will be permanently housed. We drove toward the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), a building so large that photographs can’t properly capture its scale. We turned right and then again into the parking lot for media folks. That’s who we are when we’re here.

Anna at the countdown clock

We walked over to the countdown clock. There’s nothing left to count down.

The News Center is relatively quiet. Two press briefings about the future of space exploration are scheduled for this afternoon. We’re nerds, so we’re looking forward to that chat with the bigwigs in the studio here.

Tomorrow, we must return to the News Center before 6:00 a.m. That’s 3:00 a.m. in our California heads. The plan is for Atlantis to leave the VAB at 8:30 a.m., weave its way to a retirement ceremony at 10:00 a.m., and then make its way to a celebration at Exploration Park. That’s where the KSC media escorts will hand us off to the Visitor Complex media escorts. The orbiter’s journey will conclude at the large new, still ramshackle-looking structure at the corner of the Visitor Complex. Word is that this arrival will be at about 6:00 p.m., with fireworks to follow.

Atlantis’ Destination

We’re exhausted just thinking about our twelve-hour workday tomorrow. But what better way to spend a Friday. We’re pretty sure the adrenaline will kick in. In fact, just writing this post, we’re getting pretty excited about what’s about to unfold.

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