Monday, October 15, 2012

What a Feeling...



Today I thought it might be okay if we leave Sierra Madre, just briefly.  You may ask where we are going, and the answer is, "Space, my friends.  We are going to space!"  Okay, maybe we aren't going to space, but the space shuttle Endeavour did, and I'm sure it orbited above Sierra Madre so, see, it counts! 

Endeavour was the shuttle that replaced our lost Challenger, and went on to orbit the earth 4,700 times.  It's not as shiny as it once was, but it looks pretty good, for a vehicle that has 122-million miles on it.  Now Endeavour is going to retire at the California Science Center, in Los Angeles' Exposition Park, also home to the Coliseum, the Sports Arena, and the Natural History Museum

There has been a lot of local excitement over this move from Florida to California.  The penultimate burst of excitement happened a couple of weeks ago.  Endeavour got a piggy-back ride, on the back of a 747, circling over local landmarks (e.g., Disneyland and Griffith Park) as well as places that have been meaningful to the shuttle program, such as our revered JPL and, finally, landed safely at LAX. 

This weekend, after nearly a year of planning, the shuttle took a twelve-mile journey from LAX to Exposition Park.  After several delays on its trek through L.A. streets, Endeavour finally arrived at about 11:00 yesterday morning, seventeen hours behind schedule, but triumphantly welcomed all the same.  We went down there in the afternoon, and it was absolutely one of the most thrilling experiences of my entire life.  (Do I sound like I'm gushing? That's because I am.) 

It would be difficult to describe the feeling of community, as adults and children happily and peacefully braved the heat and the crowds, just to get a glimpse of this marvel.  Everyone was having such a good time, helping each other out so that each could get a picture of, and with, the shuttle. 

Just as we were getting ready to leave, the shuttle began to move into the hangar where it will reside for at least the near future.  We were able to get a different view of the shuttle, and it was really something.  There was a brief moment of extra excitement when the Endeavour nearly hit a light pole.  As the crowd yelled, the shuttle was moved into a safer position, and the crowd cheered with relief.

What, exactly, is the appeal?  For me, it was the chance to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime event, as well as a way for our Los Angeles Community to come together.  But I heard some kids behind me discussing it, and they said "Didn't everybody want to be an astronaut when they were growing up?"  Yep.  That about covers it.



Update (10/16): Today, I found a video made by the Los Angeles Times, chronicling the Endeavour's journey from LAX to Exposition Park, in time-lapse photography.  It's less than three minutes long, but really captures the feeling...

16 comments:

  1. I have been waiting for someone amongst the bloggers I follow to have photographs just like these. Hooray, Adele, you did it and with spectacular results. This event got mega news coverage over here. If I had been home in Pasadena, I would have been out with my camera like you. Great shots!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LOL! It was such an awe-inspiring experience, I just couldn't keep from putting it into the blogisphere! So interesting to know that our event was big in your area, as well. I wouldn't have guessed.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Tanya - It was so cool to see!

      Delete
  3. Great shots Adele!!! I really like that second one!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chieftess!! I took the second one as we rounded the corner and saw the shuttle at the faaaar end of the block. I just got a more advanced point-and-shoot, that has a 20x optical zoom, and used it all on that shot! I was closer for the first one. But the second one definitely captures that first excitement.

      Delete
  4. How exciting to have witnessed this! I count myself amongst those who daydreamed about being an astronaut:) I saw some of those 'piggy-back' photos and these are perfect complements!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was exciting - I'm stil a bit giddy. I was kicking myself repeatedly for not taking tthe day off for the Piggy-Back day, so I have redeemed mysef (with myself!). :)

      Delete
  5. wow, I love that it was gushable. I missed this trip, but was there for the flight over my house. And was so surprised to be that thrilled. I don't know, maybe it sprinkles stardust.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It most certainly was. Kind of surprises you, doesn't it? Must be all that human emotion that went into it. I so love your "sprinkles stardust" thought that I may have to change the title of the post - it captures the sentiment exactly. Would you mind? I'd give you credit!

      Delete
  6. That's so exciting! Great shots, too. The kids in my neighborhood got to see it fly low over their school, twice, and they are still talking about it.

    It did indeed fly over Sierra Madre. I saw it do so, several months ago, high in the sky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, PB! Some of the shots were bound to come out, considering I took about a million and six of them! :)

      So glad that the kids got to have that experience. They'll always remember it.

      Oooh - see, I knew it went above Sierra Madre!!

      Delete
  7. Yes, yes, yes, oh, yes! I'm so happy you got to see one!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Buck!! It made me happy, for sure. :-)

      Delete

Comments are welcomed and most appreciated. When I win a million-dollar lottery, I will think of you first!