I’ll freely admit… I’ll do everything in my power to see any and every launch that I get invited too. It’s absolutely magnificent to watch a rocket blastoff and leave this planet each and every time. It doesn’t matter wether it’s carrying people, supplies, science or if it’s just a test flight… the spectacle of that much power is just spectacular!
So needless to say when invited to see the Orion EFT-1 launch, I couldn’t RSVP fast enough! And I was really disappointed they didn’t have a “YES!” option on the RSVP that blinked and flashed and danced around the screen in happiness… that would have much better conveyed my response.
I am most certainly NOT a morning person so the 0200 wakeup for an 0315 bus was a bit of a challenge for me I will admit but I set 3 alarms to make sure there was no way that I would miss this historic event!
I was fortunate to get to hear some great speeches from a variety of folks associated with Orion including NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and KSC Center Director Bob Cabana. You could hear in each of their voices a gleeful excitement about what was set to occur in just a few hours. They certainly were not the only ones excited… The whole crowd was! To me it almost felt like a shuttle launch there were so many people who had come from near and far to see the launch.
Unfortunately as you know, the launch scrubbed on the first day after several hours of waiting for it. Luckily I ran into many many friends, some I hadn’t seen in ages, so I had no shortage of great conversation to fill the time spent hanging around.
We also got treated to some absolutely spectacular sunrises!
Day 2 came very early again but once again I was happy and ready to go! We didn’t have to wait as long and before we knew it the countdown reached the point where everyone started counting down along with the clock…. 10 – 9 – 8…. I got the goosebumps and started to get bouncy (as I apparently do at all launches!) and then before I knew it the count had completed and it was go time!
Now, I’ve never seen a Delta IV Heavy launch… I wasn’t prepared for how slow (relatively) it gets off the pad… I admit, I had a moment of panic because I thought it was moving too slow but then I realized all was ok! Whew! Oh what a beautiful sight to see! And as Orio lifted higher and higher I was moved by the number of people yelling “Go Orion!” or “Godspeed Orion!” “Go Delta IV!” or even “Go baby go!” (I’m getting the goosebumps as I type this and relive the moments.) There was no shortage of hooting and hollering shall we say! It was so moving to see so many people so excited and so enthusiastic! Yep… I cried… actually tears started right about liftoff. As I said in a previous blog… it’s not just a rocket sitting out there on the pad… it’s people’s hopes and dreams and hard work. It’s passion and sacrifice and determination.
We lost our view because of some clouds but then we got a few more peeks as Orion continued to climb. Major cheers erupted and there were smiles all around! Lots of hugs and high fives too! What an amazing sight to behold! What an amazing event to be a teeny tiny itsy bitsy part of.
I am so honored to have been there for this historic event and I sure hope that we have many more historic events for folks to see launching in the near future! Go Orion!
Full disclosure – This picture is obviously not one I took (by the way I never take pictures during the actual launch), This picture was taken by the amazing and incredibly talented Bill Ingalls (from NASA) who I feel fortunate to call my friend. Word of advice folks… if you ever do get to see a launch… put down your camera and just enjoy the sights and the sounds of it… I can assure you my buddy Bill will get some amazing shots for you! Thanks Bill!