Random Thoughts from the Backseat About Last Space Shuttle Launch

Space Shuttle Fans Gathering at Space View Park Night Before Final Launch, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011opens IMAGE file
Space Shuttle Fans Gathering at Space View Park Night Before Final Shuttle Launch, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011

Upon my 9:30 p.m. arrival to Space View Park in Titusville, Fla., tonight I could feel the buzzing energy for the final space shuttle launch. Tents have popped up and chairs set out with prime real estate closest to the water. The focal point is the beaming Atlantis sitting on the launch pad some 11 or so miles away. A ceiling of clouds drifts above which appears to diffuse the light in a god-like, intriguing way.

It’s about 1 a.m. as I write this post curled up in the backseat of my car about ready to call it a night. Or at least nap time.

What’s already been amazing about this adventure is the people I have met in a short time of being here. Some from Florida, some elsewhere in the U.S. and others from Europe. Some of these folks I’ve known from Twitter yet have never met in person while others aren’t Twitterers and I was meeting them for the very first time.

NASA brings people together with a sense of community. Most of us have a special NASA memory whether it was the landing on the moon, that first taste of space ice cream or witnessing a space shuttle launch for the first time.

 

Space Shuttle Enthusiasts Photograph Atlantis Basking in the Light, Space View Park, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011opens IMAGE file
Space Shuttle Enthusiasts Photograph Atlantis Basking in the Light, Space View Park, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011

Being here for the final space shuttle launch is like saying goodbye to a good friend who warmed our hearts for three decades. Oh yeah, tears will be shed when I see the shuttle clear the tower but it’s not the end of NASA or space exploration. There’s an astroid to be examined, Mars to land, the Russians will provide NASA with taxi service to the International Space Station for research, private space industry is racing to the ISS and there’s much more to look forward to.

It’s time for NASA’s space program to evolve. Although we’re bidding farewell to the space shuttle program we’re saying “hello” to something new and exciting. It just may take us a little while to get there.

Godspeed Atlantis!

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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