As many know, last Friday was the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Well, sort of. It was flown around the US on the back of a 747 to California where it’s going to be part of the California Science Center.
It was a big deal. They announced the locations that the shuttle would fly over- ranging from Disneyland to JPL, before it would land at LAX. But because of security concerns, they couldn’t actually say when exactly it would fly over. You just had to wait and see.
It was originally set to enter the Southland around 10:30 am, but that time was pushed back until 11:30 because of less than desirable conditions in the Bay Area- and they wanted to fly over the Golden Gate Bridge and other locations up there.
I’ve written about my love of the space program before. I share my birthday with the Challenger incident (I was a child at the time) and wanted nothing more than to go into a space. But I am only 5’2″ and at best a 98 lb weakling- so space just wasn’t where I was meant to go.
I’ve always cleared my day for launches and landings. And had Friday not been the Oldest Kidlet’s picture day (and let’s face it, nobody wants to deal with make-up picture day), I would have taken the kids down to Disneyland to watch the flyover.
Instead, I pulled the Little Kidlet out of preschool a little early, realizing that we should be able to see it from where we lived. We came home, and I realized that I’d missed a close flyover.
But I went upstairs, where I found TheBoy awake (he works nights and should have been asleep). And I began to cry. Sobbed ridiculous tears because I’d missed this once in a lifetime moment. The shuttle was at LAX.
Then I realized it was flying over LAX, not landing and would be circling around again.
So I went back to one of the windows, and in the fog/smog mixture, I saw a dark shape low on the horizon and called for TheBoy (since the airspace around LAX was cleared for the shuttle). He teased me, since it sounded like a line from Master & Commander. “It was only for a moment. I thought I saw a shape.” (That’s the quote from the movie. I said something about a shape in the fog that I only saw for a moment)
We ran into his brother’s room, which is a little further south. I saw the shape again and waited, but nothing. As we walked away, my brother-in-law spotted it, and we went back to the first window… where we could see it off in the distance, flying north, then making the turn back towards LAX.
And I cried again. Happy tears this time.
Then I realized that for all my efforts, the Little Kidlet didn’t get to see it- not in person at least, he was happily watching it on TV.
I look forward to taking my boys to see her when she’s on display. But mostly, I look forward to seeing what our next step in manned space flight will be.