Posted by: Pluto Little Dippy | January 9, 2011

I wanna be an astronaut! (KSC Part 1)

Hey, kids! Pluto Little Dippy here, and boy do I have a fun trip to tell you about. Back in February 2010, I was lucky enough to tag along on a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is from here that NASA launches astronauts into SPACE! I was going to see my very first launch of a space shuttle with my UVa buddies, Nicole and George, our NASA guide Aleya, and some new friends we met called the “Space Tweeps.”

Aleya, George, and I celebrate our arrival to Florida after a long, long drive!

The space shuttle Endeavor was about to go on a mission to the International Space Station, a big satellite orbiting around the Earth where some astronauts live and work for months at a time. Wow, I wish I could have that job! They do all kinds of experiments to test how humans can live in space for long periods of time, so that one day we can go to Mars, and beyond. They do science experiments that help us with life on Earth, like testing medicines and vaccines. They also have a really cool view of the Earth. This view would look even cooler with the new window bay, called a cupola, that the astronauts in the space shuttle were about to deliver.

In the very early hours of Sunday, February 7th, we squished into a few cars and headed to see the space shuttle launch from a few miles away. There were so many people! Everyone was excited to see the shuttle blast off in the wee, dark hours of the morning. But just after 4am, after we shivered for hours in the cold night, the launch was canceled because of some low clouds. We’d have to do it all again the next night!

George, Nicole, and I are pretty optimistic, despite the cold! The little light between their heads is the shuttle, waiting to go!


Pretty pretty shuttle pic by George.

The next night, we finally got our chance. The crowds were smaller, and the weather threatened to cancel the launch once more. But then the clouds cleared, and the astronauts were ready to go! At 4:14am, as we excitedly counted down, the rockets roared to life and we felt the whole world rumble as it got as bright as day. The astronauts were going into space! It was so beautiful. Silly Nicole, she even cried a little.

Go, baby, go

Nicole took this picture with her cell phone!

As the shuttle got dimmer and dimmer, we waved our last goodbyes to the hardworking astronauts and packed up our things to go back to the hotel. However, my fun trip with new friends was only just beginning…

See what we saw! Click on this awesome video of the launch by Aleya.
(Look for me tucked inside Nicole’s coat while’s she’s jumping up and down!)


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