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Space Shuttle launch - STS-129

Independent travel tips for the professional at Leisure

November 2009

With only five more space shuttle missions, the time is growing short if you want to see one of the "monster rockets" blast into outer space.  We chose to go watch STS-129, the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis.

We won't see giant rockets again until 2030 when the Mars missions begin, so many folks but viewing a shuttle launch on their bucket lists.  Here are some tips:

You start by purchasing tickets from NASA for $40 each.  These tickets allow you to enter Kennedy Space center, where you witness the shuttle launch from just a few miles away.  They close the gates promptly at 9:00 AM, so allow at least one hour  during your drive to the cape.  Choose a launch date that has a large launch window, as weather delays can ruin your experience, especially if the launch is delayed several days.


The ground have plenty to keep you occupied until the launch, including a full-sized space shuttle, and a space shuttle flight simulator.


They have a space shuttle simulator, and I found interesting that the code displayed on the launch screens is COBOL!


They have a jumbotron since you cannot see the launch pad directly:


NASA has a great gift shop with all sorts of STS-129 goodies, hats, mission patches, you name it, and at fair prices (a STS-129 cap was only $13).  It's not all just junk either.  They had an Apollo 11 mission plaque signed by all crew members for only $20,000.  This is not a bad deal, since Neil Armstrong rarely signs autographs.

The launch itself is indescribable, the ground shakes and you can feel the heat from the rockets.

The kids like to use the word "awesome", but this event is truly awe inspiring.




Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

Suggestions?  We are always seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would be most welcome.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback. 

Copyright 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.