Ok here we go.... it's going to be tough for me to narrate this because I still get shivers thinking of it and I still tear up when looking at the pictures, that's how important this was to us and how "once in a lifetime" it felt! But here it goes anyways :)
This is the Rocket Garden at Kenedy Space Center... we didn't go in last time since all we wanted to was get out we were so diappointed!
When the busses took us over to Cape Canaveral... this is how much time was on the clock, but it was actually still 3:13:42 since they do several holds on the clock towards the end so they can do their sustem checks early!
We were 6 miles away, that's how far away we have to be just in case something happens, and this was the best our cameras could get :) I stared at that for the whole 3hours we were there, I couldn't get enough of it!
Playing cards I found at the gift shop, good thing too cause it was crazy trying to sit out there all that time with nothing to do! We played Crazy 8's a lot!
Ok so it was at this point that they did their final hold on the clock.... 45 minutes from the t-9 minutes mark. Which meant after that 45 minute wait they would resume the final countdown. Somewhere through that, they started the system checks. It was incredible to be able to hear all the "go/no go for launch" reports over the PA! During the time we were there, we also got to hear interviews with the astronauts before they got into the shuttle, everything as they were getting in! Somewhere I think around 20 minutes into the hold the hold, they ran into a problem... the Range Safety system wasn't working. The only system to report no go for launch. Everyone was in a panic at this point out there waiting because we had gotten so close and the shuttle was perfect and the weather was perfect! They decided to give it to t-5 minutes to resolve it. At that point if it wasn't resolved, they would have an extra 5 minutes before the launch window would be closed. Talk about being on the edge of my seat. I think I was standing pacing at that point because I thought "there is no way on this green earth that that shuttle isn't going to go up this time!" With only a few seconds left in the extension, they did a final poll of Range Safety and there was a second of silence followed by "Range safety is go for launch" and at that point I was starting to tear up, like I am now recalling everything and everyone waiting errupted in cheering! Finally after months of waiting and anxiety wondering if it would happen for us to be able to see it....
One of the best days of my life!