One of the amazing accomplishments of science happened yesterday; another successful space shuttle launch.  A shuttle launch always amazes me and I have been watching them my entire life.  I can remember being a little kid and my parents waking me up in the middle of the night to go outside and see a launch.  Even though we were 160 miles away we could still see it from our front yard.  To this day I always make an effort to watch the launch in person; I can’t remember the last one I have missed.  This one was no different but I did have to work out a bit of a schedule.  This past weekend I went to my parents house and I knew that the launch was planned for Sunday when I would be on my way back home.  Having lived on the Space Coast for 7 years now I know that any launch create havoc on the road ways.  My two choices were either get home a few hours before the launch or plan to get close to the Space Coast after the launch.  I figured if I neared the Space Coast while during the launch most of the people would be funneling out as I tried to get home.  So I carefully planned my time to leave so that I would be going the opposite direction as all the spectators.  Apparently I didn’t correctly estimate the amount of spectators.  By the time I made it to Orlando (the half way point of my trip) I was already stopped in traffic from launch spectators.  I couldn’t believe there were this many people.  I crawled along the interstate at a snail’s pace.  It took me over an hour and a half to get twenty nine miles.  That was not in the plan at all.  As I sat in traffic even more people headed out to see the launch.  The interstate came to a halt just before the last toll booth I had to pass through.  This was actually a blessing in disguise since I couldn’t move anywhere and I had a great view of the launch.  So I sat there in traffic for a few minutes and watched the launch.  It was a BEAUTIFUL launch.  You can see some photos from the launch at NASA or on Rant.  I didn’t have a camera with me or else I would have taken some photos as well.  As good as the pictures are, they don’t truly depict how amazing this launch was.  The sunlight from the sunset in the smoke trail was unbelievable.  I am going to be very sad the day they retire the shuttle fleet.

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