Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fireball XL-5 indeed!

Today reminded many of us why we love this madness called "flying". Could there have been anything more thrilling and beautiful than the picture perfect launch of Space Shuttle Discovery? A flawless launch into a clear azure Florida sky. Not a cloud in sight from liftoff to FL999. The brilliant brightness of the flames, the unbelievable power of those rocket engines, the perfect separation of the booster rockets ...absolutely captivating. The NASA narration was even terrific. I still get goosebumps when I hear "Discovery, you're cleared for throttle-up", as I recall those words watching Challenger. But today, it was sheer adrenaline.

And what magnificent television coverage! The live camera shot from the external fuel tank was astounding. Not only could you see the curvature of this blue marble we call Earth, but the tank separation and the gradual lifting away of the main Shuttle craft, shown live from some 45 miles in space...it was as close to heaven as a couch-potato astronaut can come. It is indeed great to have man back in space. Colonel Steve Zodiac would have been proud.

Godspeed Discovery and her crew.

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