When I heard that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would be launching during my stay here in south Florida, I put my name on the “interested” list in December of 2010. I never really expected to have the opportunity to buy tickets, but in mid February I received a notice that I had made the initial cut. I still had to hope that I would get a ticket on the day that tickets went on sale, though. The odds were still not in my favor due to the tremendous interest in the second to last launch of the shuttle program.
On the day of ticket release, I got on the predetermined website early and waited for my time to buy. The clock ticked slowly on the wall as I sat, not too patiently, waiting. Then it came; my time to enter my info into the form on the screen. There was a time limit so I had to work fast, but I was able to complete the purchase before time ran out. The tickets were on their way. Yay!
This last Friday (Apr 29th, 2011) was supposed to be launch day and after checking for any updates, we turned the car north for the 3+ hour drive to Kennedy Space Center and the Visitor’s center there. Traffic was horrible as we neared the complex and it took us another hour to travel 6 miles. We had arrived and walked quickly to find a spot on the grass to put our chairs. While waiting, a couple of us walked over to the Nasa Store to buy some things. I got the mug that’s shown above. I didn’t notice until we returned to the grassy area that the back of the mug has three words in blue ink. “Endeavor”, “Mission”, “Accomplished”. I immediately had a bad feeling about the launch scheduled that day. Could’ve been a G.W. Bush flashback. “Accomplished”?
After a 4-hour road trip up to KSC, 1-hour waiting in line to pay for my mug, and another 2 hours waiting on the grass, the launch was scrubbed for the day due to a wiring problem. You can imaginethe somber mood of the crowd leaving the space center that day.
If time allows, I may do it all again on another, as yet unannounced, launch day. After all, I’ve already got the mug.