|Atlantis lit up in the predawn. I took this shortly after arrival.|
As I got up in the darkened hotel room, I hoped that I wouldn't be too tired to enjoy the main event of the day still scheduled for 11:26 a.m. EDT (and that the shuttle would actually get to launch!) Staying at an average hotel room in Titusville, my total stay of 6 days there was costing over $1200 for a room that usually goes for about $60 a night. I had booked the more expensive hotel to quiet my nagging fear of missing the launch while stuck in traffic trying to drive in from Orlando, where I had originally booked a hotel stay for a much cheaper cost.
I was also still trying that morning to arrange a ride into the tweetup since my boyfriend and kids would need the car to catch their boat ride out to the Banana River where they would be viewing the launch. Luckily, David let me hitch a ride into KSC with him again. In turn his girlfriend hitched a ride with my family.
|VAB parking lot still fairly empty at 5 a.m.|
Lori Garver made another appearance in our tent at the start of the day. I was surprised that she and other high profile NASA officials were coming to talk to us when surely they were very busy and about to have an incredibly hectic day. Just yesterday Angie Brewer, the flow director for Atlantis, had spoken to us even though she was scheduled to be prepping the space shuttle at 1 or 2 a.m. today. It was also surreal to see these NASA people show up in our tent and then moments later appear on the live NASA TV playing in our tent to address the media.
Here was the schedule of events for the big day:
Friday, July 8/ Launch: Tweetup Day 2
6:30 a.m. – Robotic Refueling Mission demonstration
7:00 a.m. – Group picture beside the countdown clock (Click link to view the photo. Can you spot me?)
7:05 a.m. – Astronaut Tony Antonelli, STS-119, STS-132
7:40 a.m. – Tweetup wave to the crew as they drive by in the astrovan on their way to the launch pad
8:00 a.m. – Bob Crippen, STS-1, STS-7, STS-41C, STS-41G
8:30 a.m. – Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett, 45th Weather
Air Force Squadron, U.S.
11:26 a.m. – Launch of space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-135 mission
|Me with astronaut Tony Antonelli|
|The astronauts van in front of the VAB|
After waving to Sandy, Rex, Chris, and Doug, I almost missed seeing astronaut Bob Crippin when making my way back to the tweetup tent. I was able to catch most of his discussion and shot this brief video of him.
Astronaut Tony Antonelli also spoke to us. He is learning Russian and going through a battery of physicals and tests to be in line for a launch on the Soyuz.