Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Go For Launch

On Wednesday, I woke up at 3:45 am to fly to Orlando. Isaac met me there, and we drove to Patrick Airforce Base. Why? Lee Archambault is the commander of STS-119. I have known his family for over 11 years. I babysat Jamie, Matt, and Mari when the family first move to Houston so Lee could begin astronaut training. Now, Mari is in my World Geography class at Space Center. Lee and his wife Kelly were gracious enough to invite Isaac and me to the launch. We've been waiting for over a month for a final launch date. Wednesday was a beautiful day. The reception for Lee was phenomenal! Right after we checked into the hotel, we received a call saying the launch had been scrubbed due to a hydrogen leak between the ground and the external tank. Boo! Isaac and I changed clothes and went to the beach instead! Two hours later, we found out the launch was scrubbed until Sunday. Oops! Our plans were to leave Saturday for Ohio, as this weekend begins my Spring Break. Isaac checked his schedule and realized he didn't have to be back in Ohio until Wednesday for his only final of the quarter. After some reservation swapping, we changed our plans to stay until Tuesday morning, giving us two nights to see the launch if needed. Yay for Spring Break. Honestly, God's hand has been in this whole trip. Had the launch gone as scheduled earlier in February, we never would've been able to extend our plans if needed because of school. The weather has been perfect, and although we had to change hotels today because our original hotel was booked for the last three nights of our trip, we've ended up in a super nice hotel for the same rate!

Mari and me at the launch reception.

Isaac and me with cardboard Lee.
Thursday morning we woke up before dawn to walk on the beach. The sunrise was gorgeous. I won't bore you with all of the pictures I took, but God was having oh so much fun with His fingerpaints that morning! The dolphins took advantage of the sunrise to show off as well.
Sunrise with a pelican.
We spent the rest of Thursday at Kennedy's version of Space Center Houston. It's certainly different. They have a ride that 'simulates' a shuttle launch. I think 'Mission to Mars' at Epcot is much more realistic, but that's Disney for you. Isaac was definitely in his element all day long! I loved seeing him be absolutely giddy as he told me everything there is to know and then some about NASA. I'll be back here again in about 15 years for his first launch, I'm sure. He's determined, and I'm so very, very proud of him.
The shuttle is on the launch pad in the background.
On Friday, we were absolute beach bums! What a treat! We walked two miles on the beach, soaking in all of the sights and sounds. Galveston is special because it is home, but the Mississippi River has certainly ruined Galveston Bay in comparison. The water is just gorgeous here! The beaches are fantastic, with little debris. We bought beach toys at Wal-mart so we could dig and play. No, there is nothing wrong with playing in the sand at 24 years of age!!
The sand castle and starfish we made.

Beach bums!

The Cocoa Beach Pier has some really nice restaurants, and we decided to try one for dinner since we knew we'd be moving down to Melbourne Beach on Saturday. It turned out that we got there for the 'early bird' specials, so we had a tasty dinner for a very decent price. Yet another little blessing as we're trying to be careful with our money since we decided to stay three extra nights to see the launch. The restaurant had glass windows all around so that we could watch the waves and the sunset. It was wonderful in every way! After dinner, we drove down to the Bannana River. Cocoa Beach built a park there with an observation deck to see the manatees.
Sunset at Manatee Park

Saturday morning we woke up before dawn and went to Manatee Park and were graced with the presence of a playful little manatee. God started our morning off right to enjoy His creation all day! After checking out of our first hotel, we went to the Brevard Zoo. The Brevard Zoo is truly one of a kind. They allow so much interaction with the animals! We started our day kayaking with a guide around all of the Africa exhibits. There was nothing but the water between us and giraffes, rhinos, gibbons, lemurs, and ostriches. There's a wild river otter that has taken up residence in the zoo river where people kayak, and he decided to follow us on our entire trip. He was so playful with the kayaks and our paddles. The whole trip was incredible! Then we fed birds in the aviary before seeing the rest of the animals at the zoo. We ended our day at the giraffe exhibit where you can feed the giraffes and love on them if they come up to you. I was in high heaven!!!! Did you know giraffes like their horns scratched? I learned that today! There are two babies in the giraffe exhibit; Stephanie turned one on the 11th, and Melvin turns 3 on Sunday. They weren't tall enough to reach the treats, but they had plenty of other food to eat.

What are you staring at?!!? (Emu)

Isaac feeding nectar to a lorikeet.

The cockatiel sang to me, so I tried to sing back to him.

We love the zoo!
Pygmy marmosets. They were so cute!

Rafikki is the daddy giraffe at the zoo. We bonded. :)
Isaac got to play with Rafikki, too!
Tomorrow, we're praying for a safe and successful launch. I pray for many more launches to come, with the shuttle and with new vehicles that have yet to be produced. I belive that NASA and its endeavours into the vastness of the universe pleases our Maker, as He created all things for His own glory and for our pleasure. While unnecessary risks should always be avoided, life with no risks would've never proved that the world is round, that wonders of unimagined splendor cover our Earth, that airplanes can fly, that Everest can be summited...if we don't keep exploring, who's to say we won't miss out on the next great adventure that the Lord has in store for man kind? What other inventions that have come our way due to the creativity of NASA engineers will we miss out on using in our daily lives if we quit now? Thank you Lee, Joe, Pat, Steve, Mike, and all of the others who have taken the ultimate risk to show us outer space. Thank you, Isaac, for wanting to continue on the dream.

1 comment:

Michelle&Maddy said...

Looks like you guys are having a blast!! See you in Tahoe!!

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