#NASATweetup Redux – Seeing Rollback of the Rotating Service Structure

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Me in Front of Space Shuttle Endeavour During Retraction of RSS

Me in Front of Space Shuttle Endeavour During Retraction of RSS

The huh? You read right, rollback of the rotating service structure. No, it’s not something Walmart and NASA have teamed up with. The RSS is that big thing off to the left of the space shuttle. You can read the NASA definition of it here but basically, it protects the shuttle and provides access to service it. Rolling it back is one of the final preparation stages in a space shuttle launch.

Since we didn’t get to see this during the original NASA Tweetup on April 28, we were able to observe the slow process this afternoon. The rollback, or retraction, began at noon on launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. We were about 600 yards from the shuttle. Yeah, super cool.

When we first arrived, we could barely see Endeavour but slowly, she was revealed and can I say, “WOW!”? I’ve wanted to see the space shuttle for so long and there she was in all her glory.

I snapped a crazy amount of photos this afternoon, about 250 in fact. Thank goodness for digital! You’ll be spared from viewing them but you can see a select few over on Flickr.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, Kennedy Space Center, May 15, 2011
Space Shuttle Endeavour, Kennedy Space Center, May 15, 2011

The shot above of Endeavour, taken on the bus on our way back to the press site, is probably one of my favorites from today. I like the one below because it provides scale – see the men on the bottom platform? Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

About 80 of the NASA Tweetup folks have returned and it felt very good and comfortable being back at the NASA press site and being with the other Twitterers. It felt strange, though, not having the whole group together. Due to prior commitments or expenses or other reasons, many NASA Tweetup folks couldn’t return. Honestly, I’m lucky to be back here for the launch (due to work) and am grateful I am here.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, See the Men?

Space Shuttle Endeavour, See the Men?

It’s almost 7 p.m. local time. Endeavour astronauts have been in bed since 4 p.m. already and have a midnight wake up call. I’ll be grabbing a nap in a little while for a 1 a.m. wake up call. Press site opens at 3 a.m. We’ll wave to the AstroVan at 5:11 a.m. and watch the 8:56 a.m. launch. I’m ready!

Don’t forget, follow my Twitter feed at Twitter.com/jenniferhuber.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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  1. Witnessing history: Endeavour’s final launch | Frembes.com - […] my friend Jennifer Huber (@jenniferhuber) captured the event beautifully over on her blog. (Read her post here.) My actual experience began…

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