I sort of expected the rocket to shoot straight up over my head, but instead it headed to the moon, low on the horizon. Standing outside in the cool crisp clear night you could see an orange fast moving light cut from south to north low in the eastern horizon. The 4:15 shuttle STS130 Endeavor launch rocket contained on board 6 brave astronauts, as well as the tranquility cupola, a bay window living room for the international space station. When that piece gets attached the station will be 98% complete.
This morning’s launch was the last nighttime launch scheduled by NASA. The astronauts have spent more than a year training for their jobs, which include three upcoming space walks, and the ability to strap themselves into their seats upside down without hitting a single of the 2002 switches and buttons in the cabin.
The 4 and a half million pound shuttle erupted off the platform at 1100 miles per hour. At 4 minutes you hear the radio confirm they are past the point of no return and within 7 minutes reached 12000 miles per hour speed. Live NASATV records the communication and live footage. They are moving at faster than 5miles per second, circling the earth 15 times a 24-hour period. Tuesday night they will reach the international space station and join the international team already up there. The shuttle is expected to re-enter our atmosphere and fly to the ground like a jet in two weeks.