Discovery Launch: A Great Place to take the Kids

Shuttle Launch

Last weekend we flew down to Florida to see the Space Shuttle Discovery
launch. While the launch is never a guarantee and always weather
dependent, if you can manage it, you should try to see it. It was really
spectacular and we were 12 miles away (!)

We rented a parking spot from a motel in Titusville for $15. We sat in
the lounge area for about four hours while waiting for the launch to
occur. Every few minutes, Little Boy G would say, “Did it launch yet?”
Did we miss it?” Each time I told him that, no, we’re not going to miss
it and that we actually flew to Florida JUST TO SEE THE LAUNCH. There
was no way we were going to miss it. The explanation was lost on him,
obviously, since he continued to ask the same question. Little sweety.

The hotel had a small strip of sand where we could stand to watch the
spectacle, along with several other people from all over the country and
all over the world. Twelve miles of water separated us and the shuttle.
The closest you can get, however, is only six miles, so it wasn’t THAT

Finally, at 5:03, it launched. We couldn’t hear it yet because it took
several moments for the sound to get to us. Finally, the noise arrived,
but it wasn’t all that loud. Little Boy G covered his ears, but he does
that for just about any “loud” noise, like a toilet flushing. During the
launch, Little Boy G, who was on his dad’s shoulders, was awestruck. He
couldn’t speak. The fire from the thrusters, the eventual lift off, the
huge plume of smoke, and the spiraled contrail painted on the crystal
blue sky was too much for the boy. I said, “You don’t like it, G?” but
he vigorously nodded his head that he did. In fact, he is still talking
about it.

If you can go with your kids sometime, you should. Next for us–a night
launch. They’re rare, so it might take a while. From what I hear, it’s
worth the wait!