NASA list of best viewing sites to watch shuttle launches HERE
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8:45am, Orlando. I am on my way back to the coast and the Cape with plenty of time to make the 10 am briefing. And I would have had I not stopped to grab a fast food breakfast and to snap the picture at the left. What I didn’t figure were cars running as fast as possible up to the guard gate and cutting into line. Or the drawbridge being up for the second straight day on the Causeway — what are the chances of that?
10 am, media site. Preparations are underway in the parking lot for the influx of TV vans. Crews are laying yellow protectors for car to drive over, and cables to be tucked under. Today it is no kidding — there’s no close in parking and the lot for the TV vans is clear. I burro all my stuff into the media site.
10:05 am, press conference. Okay I’m late, but not serially late. Lots of re-visiting about the mechanicals that scrubbed the April 29 launch and whether the real cause has been found, or ever will be. Sounds to me like the answer is “never will be” but maybe is more “who cares” since everything seems to be working fine now.
Weather is 70-percent go on Monday morning’s launch, but there’s weather to be eyed on Sunday. If it doesn’t do what NASA thinks it will do, maybe the launch will be scrubbed again. The weather on Tuesday in only 60-percent chance, but Wednesday, if the launch is delayed that long, is a rosy 80-percent. On the other hand that is five days away. Still — these guys are awfully good at predicting weather.
Next press conference? Saturday, 4 pm.
Crowds. Will there be an estimated 700,000 people back on Monday for the launch? Probably not — probably coser to 500,000 since it is a weekday and a mid-morning launch (roughly 9 am).
Tweeters. The Tweeter mystery has been solved. They will be back, albeit with truncated hours. They get to come back Sunday afternoon, and they have to leave after the Monday morning launch.
If the launch is delayed a second time, that’s it. Tweeters only get two bites of the apple — there’s no third-launch-opportunity for these 150 guys.
But where’s their tent? And their tables? And … Gone. All gone.
This time the Tweeters get to sit in bleachers. “That’s where most of them sat last time anyway.” — Hmmm.
“And, anyway! — last time they showed up with all kinds of stuff, including their own umbrellas.” Sort of like high tech beduoins? “Yes.” And the sun won’t get them? “No.” — Hmmm.
Will Tweeters be invited for STS-135, the final launch now scheduled for no earlier than June 28, 2011? “We’ll see.” The Tweeters bring along 150 additional cars for the parking lot, and if you think STS-134 is crowded (1,500 media), you ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of the media likely to show up for STS-135 and the shuttle’s swan song.
Still, it sort of sounded like Tweeters will be tweeting here come the STS-135 launch.
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“petecrow / NASA” is copyright © by Seine/Harbour® Productions, Studio City, California, and by Peter M Crow and the Peter Michael Crow Trust