Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Future of Human Spaceflight - Orion

Last week was amazing. I was one of the fortunate to witness the maiden launch of the next vehicle that will take humans beyond Earth's orbit, that will take us back out to another celestial body. It is difficult to describe the emotions I'm still feeling, four days after the mission. I'm still grasping for the appropriate words to share with people back home, but everything I say, no matter how detailed and eloquent, fall unequivocally short.

We are striving to advance, to evolve, as a species, and I was part of that, in my small insignificant way. I am so very fortunate to have had both the opportunity to go, and be with the people who make me feel at home during the event. I hope they feel as warmly about me as I do them, because I see them as my family.

The sunrise both days of the launch attempts were stunning. Well worth getting up at "Orion O'clock" to see this.

Seconds after powering off the launchpad. We were positioned at the Saturn V Center looking southeast. The ascent was silent.

After the Delta IV Heavy disappeared into the cloud cover, and the delay of deafening thunder subsided, all that remained was the vapor. And "Base Sec Helo".
The Orion Flag is hoisted at Kennedy Space Center. The first time a vehicle flag has been raised since the Shuttle Fleet were retired. Via Spaceflight Insider

The community of "spacetweeps" worldwide is quite frankly astounding. They came from all over, just to watch a minute of a rocket. But it's clearly about so much more than watching a controlled explosion leap into the sky. While I ran around with my "space sisters" Kristen and Jennifer, I got to catch up with friends from near and far, some I see a couple times a year, some I haven't seen in years, and yet others I've just met for the first time. And that's what makes this community so special. We may be complete strangers, yet when we meet for the first time in person, it's like we're long lost pals.

It's utterly heartwarming that such a passion could do this, could bring people together in such a way. We all came together to witness history in the making, and I wouldn't have wanted to stand next to anyone else. It doesn't matter what we look like, where we live, who we voted for. We honestly and earnestly believe in this great endeavour we are undertaking, and we are committed to helping its success.

I miss everyone already as we go our separate ways again, and I can't wait to do this again. I love you all. Thank you for the memories.

The rest of my photos from the trip can be found here:
google plus photo album
flickr album of the launch