One of the best things about being here on the “Space Coast” is the rocket launches that occur from time to time from the nearby Kennedy Space Center. When we wintered here three years ago, we saw three rocket launches. Our first one this winter was a rather momentous one. Friday, NASA completed its first test flight of the Orion spacecraft – the first mission since Apollo to carry a spacecraft built to carry humans to deep space (picture at right courtesy of NASA). The launch, orbit, re-entry and landing in the Pacific went off without a hitch. NASA hopes that Orion will be the vehicle to take Americans to Mars somewhere in the 2020s timeframe.
We were up early two days in a row as the launch was called off Thursday morning because of some weather and minor technical issues. But at least I got a good shot of the sunrise. The next morning the sky was a little cloudier so we didn’t see the rocket for two long before it ascended into the clouds but I did get some pictures of my own. Our viewpoint on the bank of the Indian River was about 8 miles from the launch site so it took over a minute from seeing the rocket start to blast off until we heard the huge roar of the blast.