Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last Space Shuttle Launch

by Maggie Sefton




I've mentioned before that daughter Serena is a NASA Astronaut Candidate, Class of 2009. She and her fellow team members, nine of them, will be finishing their two-year training period by the end of the summer and will officially become full-fledged NASA Astronauts. (See www.nasa.gov and insert Astronaut Class 2009 in the Search Box). Of course, they've already been totally involved and included from the get-go in all things NASA and most importantly, the International Space Station.



Their training has included studies and testing on all the space station systems and operations, extensive underwater training and maneuvers in pressurized suits which provide the closest thing to a weightless experience, intensive Russian language instruction and testing until fluency was attained, myriad hours of training on all sorts of scientific procedures and data, tons and tons of hours of flight training---first in prop planes then building to proficiency in jets and hours and hours of practice flying (hence the photos a couple of months ago). Not to mention all the travels to foreign countries to collaborate with NASA space station partners and/or other space-related businesss, such as Space-X, which is developing rockets to take cargo up to the International Space Station in the future. In fact, their latest rocket, the Falcon, sucessfully launched a couple of months ago. I think it's their third rocket launch. Plus numerous scientific surveys and missions, like Serena's two-month stint in the South Pole last December and January.



But they also have some perks.



Since the last space shuttle launch was scheduled for this year, I had asked Serena months and months ago if she could find tickets so I could attend the launch. Well, bless her heart. . .she found enough tickets for me and her three sisters and sister Christine's entire family. I'll be flying to Orlando to meet up with Serena and other family members, and we'll be sitting in the special seating area for NASA folk, so this will be pretty cool. I am SO excited. I'll be sure to get photos from someone who will be compelled to shoot pix while that beautiful bird is taking off. (These photos are stock photos of previous launches).



Me. . .I want to watch every second of the launch. Feel the roar of the engines. Watch that beautiful bird rise up, up, up in the sky until it disappears. Serena says the roar is so loud, you feel it throughout your whole body. Wow. I can't wait. :) I'll tell you guys all about it next week.

18 comments:

NoraA said...

Hi Maggie, enjoy the trip and the launch. Give your daughter hugs from all your cozy friends.

Sue said...

What a wonderful experience for you and your whole family Enjoy each second of it. We'll be looking forward to pics when you get home

Kim said...

Wow, what a special experience! Have a terrific time. I look forward to hearing all about it. I think it's so sad that we don't have a government with more vision to see the importance of the shuttle & NASA.

South Jersey Quilter said...

My daughter Manda works for Jacobs on site at Johnson Space Center. She writes the computer programs for NASA. She and her husband went to the next to last launch, and were in a NASA area. She was so impressed!

Holly in south jersey

Danielle (The Reading Grove) said...

Congratilations Maggie. I worked at Johnson Space Center here in TX and still have friends that out there. I loved it. Being a very small part of a bigger picture was an amazing feeling.

Enjoy your time at KSC. I haven't witnessed a launch up close and personal but I hear its indescribable. Live in the moment and know that you are amoung a handful of people who are seeing history being made. I know everytime I heard "Go for launch" I got a little choked up.

Dru said...

That is so cool. Enjoy!

Griperang/Angela said...

Maggie - that is so cool that your daughter is an astronaught. I know you are excited to come see the last launch. I can see the shuttle take off from my house but would love to have been up close sometime to get the feeling as well. Have fun.

Rita B said...

Oh Maggie.....You must be so proud of Serena. And what a thrill it will be to watch a launch. AND great seats to boot!!! Enjoy. Will be waiting for you update.

Barbara said...

I love Serena's name, and what an accomplishment that she's almost an astronaut! Enjoy your trip thoroughly. I'm so glad you won't be taking pictures yourself; you need to just experience it.

Hannah Dennison said...

Wow Maggie! I did not know about your extremely talented and brilliant daughter. You must be SO proud of her! How unbelievably exciting. If I'd known I would have talked your ear off when we did a book signing in LA. I will definitely tune in to hear all about the launch.

RosieJo said...

So much of our children's education has been lost to modern technology. What will they do when the power goes out? Good Grief!!

I'm looking forward to reading all about your Space Shuttle adventures. Astronauts have always been my heros.

Vickie said...

I am very envious!! We'll be watching on TV.

Linda McDonald said...

Wow Maggie! That is so awesome! I'm so excited for you and your family. Enjoy every moment of it!

Maggie Sefton said...

Nora, Sue, & Kim---Thanks so much for the good wishes. And I agree with you, Kim, about having "vision" for our country's space program.

Maggie Sefton said...

Holly---That is great. I'll tell Serena. She may know her. NASA is a big family, she says.

Danielle---Thank you, my dear. Your words said it beautifully.

Dru & Griperang---Thanks!

Maggie Sefton said...

Rita & Hannah--Thanks for the kind words. :) You bet I'm proud of her!

Barbara---She's named after my great, great grandmother Serena White Sayles. She was an accomplished woman in her own time, long ago.

Maggie Sefton said...

RoseieJo, Vickie, & Linda---Thank you so much for your good wishes!

John said...

nice and interesting sharing, thanks and keep it up more and more...