And the Shuttle departeth!
We were up at 0530, the kids were out the door fifteen minutes later. I took my time and left the homestead at 0600. Destination; Yacht Club. The Shuttle was due for the final night launch at 0621 and we were out on the dock waiting at the far end.
Sure enough, as we set foot on the furthest portion of the dock, we heard the radio calling the final ten count.
There was a glow to the South, and soon we saw the chariot of fire heading Northeast. It was a bright orange line of flame and it starting coming to the North and after a minute or so, we saw the separation of the boosters and the small white light propelled into space. We could see the spent boosters slowly sink as the shuttle hauled... We even heard the distant sonic boom as it passed by.
The sun was still under the horizon, but there was a bright blue glow where the booster separation charge had left a puff of radiant vapor.
The Shuttle now was on it's track towards Europe and the exhaust gasses glowed in the sunlight, it was a "Y" shaped condensation trail not unlike a comet.
We watched for about five minutes until the white speck sank into the horizon, just as the sun broke free of the darkness to the East.
What a show. It was sad to know that this was the final predawn Shuttle launch, ever. I wish our President and NASA could get their collective crap together. The American People want a Space Program and want to see the Shuttle (and maybe a better running replacement) continue to soar regularly into space. We should not be relying on the Russians and the Europeans to provide booster capability in support of the Space Station.
It's a National Pride thing, not that the current administration knows anything about that.
How nice that Sascha and Roma got to see something so historic, yet routine.