Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lift Off

Traveling brings remarkable moments of uncanny timing. Some would consider these moments as serendipitous, I consider them a blessing. A recent trip to Orlando brought such a moment to me. When I woke up on Thursday, February 7, the chance of a space shuttle launch was basically 30%. I didn't even know that there was a launch scheduled until that morning when I turned on the news. A space shuttle launch gets very little attention, except in the central Florida area, where folks still pay attention and care. Throughout the day, the chance of the launch varied from "go" to "no go", but I still held out hope.

There is a spot at the very top of the parking garage at the Orlando airport that provides an excellent vantage point to watch the launch. Many people camp out here on top of the garage if they can't travel the 50 miles to Cape Canaveral to see a launch up close. I actually got the chance to see a launch up close with my family in the early 90's. It was a night launch and it lit up the night sky. It was amazing and it was another one of those moments when we just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

The collective gasp of people crowded on top of the Orlando airport parking garage is a moment I'll always remember; together we all watched as a burst of light and fire erupted on the horizon and the shuttle lifted off.

I have included two pictures, one is the shot I took with my camera phone and the other is the same image that I adjusted so that the fire from the rockets is more noticeable. Keep in mind that this is a shot taken with a camera phone from 50 miles away.