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STS-122, Atlantis

7 Feb 2008

STS-122 patch

We were very fortunate to finally have the opportunity to watch a shuttle launch in person. It happened to come during our normal time-off from our volunteer duties at Gamble Rogers SRA in Flagler Beach. The previous day we had visited the Kennedy Space Center, which in itself was very interesting. After an over-night at the Titusville Wally-World, we found a great viewing spot, where we settled in for the day, awaiting the 1445 scheduled launch. The weather forecast was not favorable, due to forecast clouds and showers. But they did not materialize and right on the mark, up she went.

 We had originally planned to watch from along Rt 1 in Titusville, where there are a number of city parks. But we discovered that they are closed to RV's on launch days. A friendly parks employee directed us to the causeway just over the Rt 406 bridge at the north end of town. That's us right behind the white pickup truck in right center.  sts02
 sts04  Talk about a great vantage point! We were parked right at the water's edge, facing the launch complex. That's the Vertical Assembly Building in the right distance; pad 39-B, where Atlantis sits, is about halfway between the VAB and the mirror.
 Conditions were close to perfect at 1445 as Atlantis blasted off.  sts07
sts10   About now the sound wave has made it the 11 miles to our viewing location.
 It's only shortly after launch when the shuttle starts its tilt to take it in the right direction.  sts12r
 sts15  There were just a few small cumulus clouds, which only served to make things a little more picturesque.
 Picture perfect  sts21
sts23   Still in sight.
 Riding the rocket.  sts25
 sts27  It doesn't take long for Atlantis to be out of sight, leaving only its vapor trail behind.