We watched the launch from the causeway between the mainland of Florida and Cape Canaveral. We were sitting about 5 miles away from the launch site with about 50,000 of our closest friends for the day. The view was unbeatable, the sound was deafening.
This is STS-125, the final NASA mission to the Hubble Telescope. Through my previous employment, I met NASA Astronaut Pilot Gregory C. Johnson. Our invitations to attend the launch and related activities came from him.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Kennedy Space Center. We hit all the tours, including the Rocket Garden, the Launch Experience. the art gallery, ate ice cream at the Milky Way and watched the new Star Trek movie on the KSC Imax.
These are models of the shuttle, the external fuel tank and booster rockets. We toured the inside of the shuttle - it is amazing how big it is for carrying cargo, but how small it seems to live in for an extended period of time.
After all the excitement of the launch was over, we headed out for some more fun in the sun. The first course we had a tee time scheduled for was socked in with smoke from a nearby fire. We ended up at the North Shore Golf Club and had a great time squeezing in 9 before catching our plane back home. We golfed with Pat and Roger, who were vacationing in Florida from England.