Space Shuttle sightings/experiences

This is a discussion on Space Shuttle sightings/experiences within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Maybe some of you have employment related to the space shuttle, surely some of you in Florida have seen launches/landings, etc. Regarding the shuttle what ...

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Thread: Space Shuttle sightings/experiences

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    Space Shuttle sightings/experiences

    Maybe some of you have employment related to the space shuttle, surely some of you in Florida have seen launches/landings, etc.

    Regarding the shuttle what are some of your personal experiences?

    For me:

    1-Living in Louisiana, sometimes when the shuttle lands in Florida its re-entry path is essentially overhead for us. Sometimes you can hear a sonic boom, and if it's still dark you can see it come across traveling east. It's an awesome sight at night to imagine the "light" you see is essentially a fireball with people inside ! After it passes over us, we go to the tv and watch it land in Florida about 10 minutes later.

    2-As you know the Columbia exploded upon re-entry over Texas as it headed to land at Florida. IIRC it was on a Saturday morning, as I mentioned above we sort of live within that re-entry path. I happened to be outside in the yard that morning. Authorities say that it was possible to hear the explosion, but I didn't hear anything. We also live within the fringe of the debris field, though most of it fell just west of us in Texas. Everytime I road in my pastures to check the cows I kept a sharp look out for any related debris. Never saw anything, and would have called the authorities if I found anything. Some folks didn't, or so I read.
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    Treasure hunters like that, after a tragedy, simply suck. Yeah, it would be cool to posses a door panel or something like that from the Shuttle but when it is needed to investigate what happened so it can be prevented in the future give it up. Take a picture standing next to it and then return it.

    I personally have never seen the Shuttle go overhead, other than a small dot in orbit at night. I would LOVE to witness a launch, one day I'll make the trip.
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    In the early 1980's I saw one re-entry at Edwards. In 1995, I watched one launch at the Cape, followed by an evening showing of the film "Apollo 13." In 1986, I was watching (on the tube) the launch and destruction of Challenger. A roommate of mine, at the time, was in Hiroshima, Japan, at the Peace Memorial, and he was watching the launch on the monster "wonder vision" screens there.

    I watched a launch of a Titan (IIRC) from Vandenberg, last year. Was just over the hill from the base. The pulsing throb of the air simply takes your breath away. It's amazing how long the fireball stays in sight, as the missile heads downrange. A neat thing to see, in the wee hours of the morning.
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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    We're lucky, we can see every launch from our backyard, even though we're closer to Orlando than the coast. Night launches are spectacular.....we can even see the solid fuel boosters seperate with the naked eye.....my daughter and I set the alarm to get up and watch them if need be. Mucho cool.
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    I believe after Columbia's first launch, after it landed at Edwards, on its way back to FL, it stopped at stopped at Tinker AFB, where my dad was stationed at the time. We got to walk out to the flightline to see it after the 747 carrying it landed.

    We had to park some ways away from the flightline and walk a bit to get a good look. My dad forgot the camera in the car, so no pics.

    But I'll always remember.

    I live in Brevard County, so I can see the launches from my backyard. While I was attending FloridaTech, I got to go up to the roof of the tallest building on campus to watch John Glenn's shuttle flight launch.

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    I was going to work one morning and came upon the nasua bridge traffic siowed to a crawl & I looked to the right there it was clear shot watched it til it was gone great experieance

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    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    I knew something was wrong with Columbia, because all of us at work were waiting for the sonic booms, and they never came :(

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    I worked at JSC for 9 years. I have been to 2 landings (I worked on redesigning the brakes and investigated the 1 on-orbit tire leak we had) but never saw any launches. Before Columbia there was Challenger (STS 51-L). I knew 2 of the astronauts on Challenger: JR (Judy Resnik)and El (Ellison Onizuka). I had been out of NASA for a while when Columbia happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
    We're lucky, we can see every launch from our backyard, even though we're closer to Orlando than the coast. Night launches are spectacular.....we can even see the solid fuel boosters seperate with the naked eye.....my daughter and I set the alarm to get up and watch them if need be. Mucho cool.
    Same here - and it is amazingly cool :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
    We're lucky, we can see every launch from our backyard, even though we're closer to Orlando than the coast. Night launches are spectacular.....we can even see the solid fuel boosters seperate with the naked eye.....my daughter and I set the alarm to get up and watch them if need be. Mucho cool.
    Yep. Shuttles launch out of our backyard also.

    I had the experience of being one of the speakers at the memorial service for Columbia, which was held on the landing strip at KSC. 8,000 employees came to pay their respects and receive some comfort. Hopefully, I helped provide some.

    We were on the strip as the line of squalls was bearing down on us from the north. Stood, along with everyone else as the 'Missing Man' formation flew over us.
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    I grew up on the coast of FL, within spitting distance of the Cape. Saw every launch up through 1989 or so, and a few since. Had the re-entry booms rattle the pictures off the walls of the house once as well. Saw one go up again just last year - still an awesome sight.
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    I can see the shuttle launch out of my backyard as well (do all our houses face the same here in Florida? ).

    It used to be more regular when I was younger, since they used to do space missions regularly... nowadays, I am very occasionally taken off guard at the twin booms, as its unlike anything else and I hear it so infrequently that it often gives me a slight "what the hell."

    I have also been woken up rather quickly and rudely in a slight panic when the sonic booms happen during a day where I sleep in a little. Not a great way to suddenly wake up .

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    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    I'm in the Tampa Bay area and have seen them a few times. One time on the way to work I was on one of the major bridges (not so major but for the area) headed West to SW and saw the shuttle and contrail going up in my rear view mirror.

    It is always an incredible scene.
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    I have seen 2 launches.... from Miami. That's 200 miles away!. One was at 5 am or whereabouts and the other was at 9 pm. Both perfectly clear nights and I just wonder about the raw power that the shuttle has for it to be seen so far away. I have to see it up close one day.
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    1) Coming out of the chow hall in NTC Orlando in 1986. I noticed everyone had stopped walking and was looking in the same direction. Lo and behold, it was the Challenger on take off, and what a magnificent site it was, until it blew apart like chinese fireworks and then we knew something was wrong.
    2) I lived north of Edwards AFB about an hour. The local radio stations would alert us if the shuttle would be landing there instead of cape canaveral. Luckily I was off work on one of those days. We hauled butt, headed to Edwards but didn't quite make it for the landing. We got an eyeful of her coming in on approach.
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