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LJWorld.com weblogs In Simple Words

Shuttle Launch Today

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Launch today is scheduled for 1:45PM CST today. You can watch it in HD on channel 220, or on NASA TV.Launches now are just a small note in the news now, but if you've had a chance to see a shuttle launch, it is not something you will forget. NASA has not done a good job relating how amazing a task it is. Unfortunately, few will get to stand outside Launch Control, hear the final count over the loudspeaker, hear the loud whir of the main engines when they start and watch it rise from the billowing clouds of smoke.I can tell you for a fact that it is cool. Even these days few things can match it. From 3 1/2 miles away (as close as anyone is allowed) it is loud. Sometimes you'll hear car alarms go off from the low frequency vibrations. 10 miles is as close as most of the public can get, but even at that distance it is impressive.So if you have a few minutes today around 1:45, you might take the time to watch. Seven people are going to do something pretty amazing.And here is one more NASA site of interest, it is a real-time 3-D display of the satellites orbiting the earth. Unfortunately, it doesn't include the Shuttle and Space station, but it does show a new, fascinating perspective of our planet.

Comments

David Klamet 6 years, 8 months ago

The weather has improved. At 7 minutes and counting, everything is still go.

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Ronda Miller 6 years, 8 months ago

I missed the lauch because my timing wasn't right, but I agree that I still get a thrill just watching it happen - or worrying that it won't.

I am not sure how much the younger generations appreciate it - it may be old hat to them.

Thanks for the post and links also, David!

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David Klamet 6 years, 8 months ago

Ronda, I believe you are right about the lack of interest today. But then, we had the privilege of watching live TV of men walking on the moon. I haven't looked at the moon in the same way since.

I probably pay more attention to NASA than most people and almost all the media coverage and video is incredibly boring.

It's hard to believe that went from the first manned launch to the moon in less than 10 years. Now it is almost 40 years later. We've been launching the same Space Shuttle for almost 30 years. I have to admit it is kind of boring to me, too.

There is some hope, though. A few small private companies are trying to do what NASA, with all it's billions, can't--get people into space cheaply and safely. Maybe I still have a chance to get into space....

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gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

Science fiction has raised my expectations high enough that I can't look at any of our crude machines and be amazed. All I see is a great amount of smoke and thunder and wonder why we have to expend so much obvious effort to do something as simple as fly.

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David Klamet 6 years, 8 months ago

gccs14r, The biggest obstacle to space exploration is getting things off the ground into Low Earth Orbit. That means getting stuff (your ship, cargo, etc) a couple of hundred miles up and accelerating it to over 17,000 miles per hour.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. To do it without wasting a lot of fuel, you need to do it quickly--the shuttle takes just over 8 minutes from liftoff to orbit. That makes it even more difficult.

Fortunately, several companies (SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Armadillo Aerospace) are trying and, hopefully, they will be able to accomplish what NASA has not.

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gccs14r 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh, I'm well aware of the physics of spaceflight. I don't have to like it, though.

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