The Final Launch of the Discovery, February 24, 2011

The 39th Mission for this work horse of the Shuttle Program

Page 1

We arrived at what, after much internet research, I believed was the best place to view a shuttle launch for the general public, along a new bridge connecting north Titusville to the gates of Kennedy Space Center on Merrit Island. It is route 402, east of I-95. It is called Parrish Park, and has several boat launches for boaters on Bannana River, the river that separates Merrit island and mainland Florida. You can see the new bridge rising high and next to the old bridge, and where we managed to park, 5 hours prior to launch time and before they gated this area off when it filled. Note the 30 mph speed limit sign left over from when this was the road crossing the old bridge. I don't think it is wise to go 30mph in a parking lot.

We claimed our spot along the pedestrian walkway along the new bridge.

You can see our unobstructed view from the bridge and the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) in the distance which was one of the largest buildings built in the nation when it was built in the '60's to assemble the Apollo rockets and its descendants like the external shuttle boosters. It is here where every part gets attached to the orbiter and gets lifted onto the external tank prior to crawling out to either launchpad 39A or 39B, 3 miles from the building, along the Atlantic Ocean beach. It is hard to tell, but the shuttle is to the left of this building, on launch pad 39A, 10 1/2 miles from where I took this pic.

This is a satelite view of where we were. X marks the spot where we were, along the bridge on route 402, just prior to the gates to the back entrance to the KSC property. The Vehicle Assembly Building is seen (VAB) and launchpad 39A where the shuttle was.

The magical work of a zoom lens, i can almost see the astronauts in the orbiter.

The excitement builds....

Go To Shuttle page 2

Go To Shuttle page 3

If you are considering a trip out there for a launch, drop me an email. I learned a lot from what I've read in preparation and from what I experienced there to help you out.

Updated Feb 25, 2011

Please send me mail.