Re: Endeavour – Dang you, NASA (and San Fran)!

09/20/2012

All this talk about the space shuttle Endeavour coming to L.A. is pretty exciting. Like a ton of kids, I had dreams of piloting a mission to the moon or beyond, or even just floating around on the space station in an 18,000 MPH orbit.

These days, the constant coverage of the shuttle piggybacked atop a modified 747 Jumbo Jet has got me wracking my brain, trying to figure out if I might be able to look to the skies and see it chug along. But timetables keep changing, and the L.A. arrival of Endeavour has been delayed yet again because fog is expected in……San Francisco. Dang you, San Fran! The shuttle is currently about 100 miles NE, at Edwards Air Force Base. So, sensibly, the shuttle will be ferried nearly 400 miles NW tomorrow to San Francisco, then nearly 400 more miles south to Los Angeles. Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that this was all originally planned for a Thursday. A Thursday! In the middle of the day! Now it’s changed to a Friday. In the middle of the day! I sent a Twitter message to NASA, pointing out that the unemployment rate here is high, but it’s not THAT high. People here work, especially in the middle of the day!

Anyhow, at the very least, I feel extremely honored and blessed to have seen the space shuttle “Discovery” launch back in 2008. I won a Blue Man Group sweepstakes trip to Orlando that I could never recall entering… but after verifying it was legit and knowing that you could see a shuttle liftoff from the other side of Florida, I looked up the space shuttle launch calendar and specifically scheduled the trip around one of those dates.

From 60 miles away, the shuttle was like a fireball rising in the sky. It was so cool, even despite the distance. Eventually, the smoke trail stopped, and the shuttle was a small, white dot flying on a higher and higher arc. Eventually, like watching a jet crossing the sky, the shuttle got smaller and smaller until it just disappeared. You can see most of that in the video I shot below.

The whole experience was rather simple, but it really left a lasting impression. Although there’s so much negativity out there in the world, it can sure be refreshing and intriguing to consider human ingenuity and the good we’re capable of.
 

 
 
UPDATE! 9/21/12
Okay, so I take some of what I said back. As it turns out, I was incredibly blessed (yet again) and had a bunch of cards fall into place. It’s really rare for me to work in Hollywood, but today I ended up doing just that. Additionally, the Endeavour was originally scheduled to land in Los Angeles yesterday/Thursday but, due to weather, that got pushed to today. Jackpot! That meant I was in Hollywood while the space shuttle was strutting around town.

It was the hovering helicopters and people on all kinds of high-rise rooftops that tipped me off that I needed to be scanning the skies. While driving on La Brea, south of Santa Monica Blvd., I spotted the shuttle on its carrier in the haze. “Are you freakin’ kidding me? That’s all I’m gonna get?” I thought to myself. Turning down a side street to try to catch another look, I got cut off by two garbage trucks and decided to continue on to the next work destination.

The rooftop there was filled with people, and all the people pointing made it easy to keep track of the shuttle’s approximate location. So there I just stood in the parking lot. Endeavour, the 747 it was mounted on, and two military chase jets made one pass and then did so again after a couple minutes.

I wish I would have been sharing that moment with someone, anyone, because it was so astonishing and unreal. I could feel the adrenaline jolting through my body, and profanities were spilling out of my mouth. I didn’t know a moment like this could cause me to be mistaken for a pirate.

Endeavour on its Final Mission

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