My experience at the space shuttle Discovery STS 131 launch!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Discovery STS 131 launch and to say the least it was an awesome opportunity. To begin the adventure Dave Masten and I went on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, which included getting very close to the Launch Pad 39A, and allowing us take some great pictures. To my surprise during the tour we happened to run into Kevin Sagis and Michael Pollmiller (some of our Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge competitors), as well as some of their family members. Not too far behind was Greg Maryniak one of our X PRIZE Foundation board members and dear friends of the X PRIZE space team. So over all, it was a lot of fun to go through this experience surrounded by friends and family of the X PRIZE Foundation. We had the pleasure to have as our tour guide Astronaut Michael Foale. Foale has been a crew member on six space missions and has had the opportunity to spend sometime in the Russian space station MIR. After the tour was done we had the evening to rest and get ready for the Launch.

We watched the launch from the OSB II building where the NASA administrator Charles Bolden welcomed his guests. The morning started with welcoming remarks, a buffet and a detailed presentation regarding the mission. The Discovery crew is to deliver supplies and hardware (roughly 8 tons of cargo in Leonardo, a pressurized module in the cargo bay) to the International Space Station, as well as perform three spacewalks designed to help prepares the station for the post-shuttle era. The launch was set for 6:21 a.m EDT and around 6:12 a.m we had the opportunity to admire the space station as it was doing its fly by. Everyone in the building was so excited, they were cheering and clapping until the station was out of sight. At some point during the countdown the launch was on a no-go status due to some weather issues, but soon after the hold Discovery STS 131 was given the go. Even though it was still pretty dark while the shuttle was lifting off, they sky was so bright it looked like if it was the middle of the day. Being that there are only three more launches left, this was an amazing experience and I really can’t find more works to describe it. I am glad I got to see the shuttle in action one more time before the end of the program and I recommend that if you all have a chance you should try and experience it. Many thanks to Dave Masten for such a wonderful invitation!

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