Sunday, July 19, 2009
Recently, I have had the privilege of working at Johnson Space Center in the astronaut office. It's an amazingly unique and tight knit community.
Where to many , the space program has become mundane, I am reminded everyday of the splendor and technical complexity of each and every mission.
On my first day, I got to watch the shuttle launch for STS-127. It was especially thrilling because I was sitting in a room full of astronauts. I had TONS of questions, but the room was completely hushed .... I wondered if it was just par for the course for them to passively watch, but my perky coworker Brooke informed me that they were actually nervous. She explained that until the boosters separate from the shuttle, there wont be much of a sigh of relief. Which makes sense.... it's amazing how much we take for granted about the launches and NASA in general. I noticed some foam fall off and graze the side of the heat shield tiles which scared the crap out of me. Again, I noticed the room remained oddly subdued. Brooke said she could hear a few small gasps but told me that this event occurs nearly every launch. Once , I was a passive observer listening or watching from home, today, I'm biting my nails on the edge of my seat..surrounded by people who do this for a living.
Thursday, I was given tickets to go see the Imax footage the astronauts shot while repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. The crew of STS-125 personally narrated the 8 min 3D film as the audience watched the magic behind those attractive 3D glasses on the Imax screen.
I have seen 3D Imax, but never one that came close to this experience. Viewing the grandfather telescope, the astronauts suspended in the darkness around him with the earth rotating in the background was breathtaking. A full full length 3D Hubble experience will show to the general public in March. I will DEFINITLY go!