The shuttle program was still a novelty back in 1984, when I was credentialed as a newspaper photographer for STS-41D: the maiden flight for Discovery, and only the shuttle program’s 12th mission. While I was on the Cape for both scrubbed attempts in June 1984, I missed the launch itself in August (one of the shuttle’s three engines had to be replaced, resulting in a two-month delay).
About 13 years later, however, I did get to see a shuttle launch, when I was able to sneak away from an NBAA convention in Orlando for a couple of hours. It’s something you feel more than see, as the shock waves roll in–a long time after you watched the shuttle lift off. This is something to experience, and you have one chance remaining.
Today’s shuttle statistic: The solid rocket boosters burn 11,500 pounds of fuel every second. OK, another “Wow.”