Space Shuttle Launch

July 4, 2006

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I was sailing the Minnow up the the coast of Florida by myself in 2006, and I heard that they delayed the space shuttle launch one day. Since I was going that way, I anchored off Cape Canaveral to see the launch the following day. I radioed the Coast Guard and asked them if I was OK if I stayed three miles offshore, and they said that would be no problem.

The next morning, the Fourth of July, I woke up to a honking horn. I eventually realized I was on a boat and not in a big city. Then I remembered I was anchored offshore, miles away from anybody. I staggered outside and saw a Coast Guard boat. When I finally woke up enough to operate the radio, they told me I needed to go south a few miles. I asked if I could go north. They said I'd have to go pretty far (past "charlie alpha"). I asked them to wait and tried to figure out whether to go north or south. Then the range control officer said I could go three miles southeast. So I did. They were all very polite and professional. And patient.

When I anchored, there were no boats anywhere around me. The Coast Guard was patrolling behind me. Once I heard the Coast Guard or Range Control people ask on the marine radio, "Are you going to let that sailboat stay there?" They did. I was still a few miles away, but I was happy to be that close.

I listened to the marine radio part of the day before the launch. I was impressed with the Coast Guard, and the efficient and courteous way they kept boats out of the off-limits areas. Those guys are good.

I waited around until 2:38 and the shuttle went up. It was really, really impressive. It was bright and loud. There was an interesting contrast between their speed and mine.

July 3 Sunset
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Shuttle Assembly Building
Another launch pad
This plane flew by before the launch
Engine Start
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NASA had a little better view

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NASA had a little better view

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