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    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Anticipation, Excitement, Dissapointment...

    Stardate 4239.0

    Thousands of people across our globe if not millions are waiting and watching. An event like this doesn't happen very often.

    I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be in a long line of folks, miles from the launchpad... with eyes fixed through whatever devices are available on a small, distant object, ready to smash through the atmosphere and into space. The countdown has undoubtedly been going steady, despite fears of bad weather stalling or even stopping the launch. It doesn't matter to the people watching. They will wait out any storm to see this first hand. Many are armed with lawn chairs and drinks, food and portable televisions. Many people sit at home, with the news on television, or at work, with some video feed or other, showing the same still machine, poised on a gantry like a giant phallic symbol of the Space Age pointed to the heavens...

    After days of anticipation, and small set-backs that are magically removed, the time draws near. The million eyes are fixed on every television, binocular and news site with enough excitement to fill a cyclopean colliseum. Then the news. Again, faulty equipment is the cause. Nothing they can do except cancel for today. The million eyes turn away in dissapointment. I can only assume that half are blaming NASA for the setback, and the rest simply don't know. Of course, almost all will still be waiting, watching and cheering when it finally blasts through our Ionosphere and into space.

    Now imagine being the astronaut. After spending years and half a lifetime preparing for this very day, it finally arrives! Sleep? What sleep. I wouldn't sleep the night before launch day so I don't imagine many would... The excitement would be unbearable. Treading the waters shared by the likes of John Glenn, Gordo Cooper and Neil Armstrong... WOW. It really boggles the mind and is the *stuff of dreams*. As the bus comes to pick them up, they look at each other closely. Their lives will depend on each other doing what they have trained so hard to do, and the equipment must be in tip-top shape.

    The bus takes them to the Gantry and Shuttle. Up they go, until they are sitting atop the very object that millions of eyes are fixed upon. Strapped in. Lights, toggles, check check... Really excited now, but then there are many important things that have to be done. The excitement can wait. The weather is always in the back of their minds, but to be sure, they will launch into orbit, and be the first in years to do so in a US shuttle.

    "This is ground control to Major Tom... you have a faulty sensor. We have to cancel."

    BAM. The excitement vanishes... there will be another day, and a launch. But still, the equipment has to be in tip-top shape. It isn't. How do they feel about that? Probably a minor glitch, but it is another thing to worry about. And the timing. More sleepless nights. Disappointed... sigh.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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