Launches have always been a source of great interest and excitement for me. Even after over 100 there is still nothing "routine" about it. I see every one I can be it live or on tape; they still have the same effect. I remember one time my father waking me up at six o'clock one morning years ago so we could watch it together. -- I think I was young enough then that I was disappointed to find there wasn't another at the same time next week.
I'm also a little nervous this time around. It's been two and a half years since the last shuttle mission which ended in greater tragedy than Challenger. My grandmother died that week and it happened the day we were to leave town for the long treck to South Dakota for the funeral. I was going to make a quick trip to the city first for music to take along. I turned public radio on in the car and instead of the usual classical music they were talking about the Columbia landing. Since it was the middle of the conversation between respondents It took a couple minutes to figure out what was going on. My father knew something was wrong when he heard me leave, then tromp back in and immediately turn on the television. Our natural gravitation toward calamity kept me glued until there was no new information to be assimilated and I went on my errands in utter shock.
I should have taken a couple hours off from work. I really want to watch this. Not only for my own interest, but as a reassurance that our space program is still capable and viable.
Aw crap. They're currently discussing issues with a low-level fuel cut-off sensor that may scrub the launch.
Aw crap. They're unbuckling the crew. They can't launch today. They'll have to "detank the external fuel tanks to properly troubleshoot the problem."
Better luck next time.
- J I M O U T -