Log on to your account and access your saved quotes and your orders.

US Car Hire

For all your Florida car hire, California car hire, rest of US car hire and car rental in the rest of the world. Hassle free car rental at competitive rates.

The Last Launch of Shuttle Discovery - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

It took me five attempts to see a shuttle launch. Each time I scheduled a trip, the launch got moved just outside of my time in Florida. Twice I extended my trip to try and catch it but I had no luck… Until now. Ever since I was a young boy, I was fascinated by rockets, shuttles and space. I grew up in the Shuttle era and the world was keen to prolong our time in space. I dreamed of being an astronaut and exploring new worlds. Here I was at Kennedy Space Centre to watch Discovery’s final flight and it almost didn’t feel real.

As thousands of us waited and watched the launch pad, I became more and more nervous that the shuttle mission wouldn’t go ahead. I’d missed it four times before, and I don’t think I could take getting this close and missing it again. The tragedies of Challenger and Columbia flashed through my head but I forced the painful memories away.

The countdown stopped. Houston reported a problem with their computer, and we all held our breath. Thankfully, they managed to fix the problem and the countdown resumed. A group of us, strangers just a few hours before, got together to hold hands and say a little prayer to keep the astronauts safe.

Then, it happened. 5… 4… 3… 2…… 1 “Main Engine Start! ”. I couldn’t believe how bright the flames were, my camera struggled to properly expose the shot. Discovery tore through the sky and reached for the heavens. Nothing had prepared me for the speed of the shuttle – of course, I’d read it was faster than a bullet, but seeing it happen really made me realise how close our sky actually is.

We were watching from the NASA Causeway, 6 miles away, so the sound took about 30 seconds to reach us. The shuttle was already well into the flight as we heard an immense ripping sound that filled our heads and violently shook the ground.

Quick as a flash, it was over and Discovery had punched a hole in the clouds and disappeared towards the stars. As we all packed our things, we were all smiling to ourselves. I wondered if everyone else felt the same way I did. I wondered if they had waited as long as I to see a launch. I wondered if they were as awestruck as I was. Then, in another glance, I got my answer. Everyone was smiling and watching their recordings on cameras, camcorders and phones; children were awestruck and everyone was beaming. For a few minutes at least, through shared experience, we were all one big family.

Viewed 4693 times.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Villa Owners: Upload A Photo To This Article

To upload a photo for consideration, click here. Please only submit photos relevant to this article.

Other Articles Viewed

The following articles were also viewed by people who looked at this one: