The mission is a scrub. Not the final mission of the Space Shuttle, but my mission to go see it tomorrow. Mine was originally a 5-man mission (my daughter Dena and I and her 3 children). My copilot (Dena) encountered some scheduling problems and that took it down to 3 of us. (I was not willing to take the junior member of the crew solo due to too much two-year-oldish behavior out of him lately.)
That left me and my 8 and 5-year-old granddaughters. Dena was more than happy to have them go with me. I sat down with Mission Control (Bob) last night and we went over the itinerary. We did the equipment check – fuel, water, juice boxes, sunscreen, binoculars, chairs, cash, movies for the car, snacks, more snacks, umbrellas. It was check, check and check. All systems seemed go.
By our calculations, I would have to leave my house at 6:15 in the morning to drive the 1.5 hours to the Space Coast to hopefully secure a spot where we could watch the five-minute launch. If by some miracle we did arrive at Space View Park by 8:00, we would only have to wait 3 hours and 26 minutes for the launch in 90+ degree heat. This is, of course, weather permitting, and it doesn’t look like the weather will be permitting. At this writing there is only a 30 percent chance of liftoff.
If everything were to go smoothly and the launch went on schedule (taking into account stopping for lunch and traffic jams of enormous proportion) we should arrive home somewhere in the neighborhood of 5:00.
It is very humbling to admit that I am not that brave. I don’t even know if the crew of the shuttle would be brave enough for this undertaking. It’s one thing to be hurled out into space, but it’s another thing entirely to spend a day with bored children in the heat of the summer. So, the plan is to watch the shuttle on TV and then head outside where I can view it from my street as it hurls into space. This is the way we have viewed the shuttle since its first launch in 1981. Why break tradition now?