Wednesday July 6th 2011


Rachel in Space: Wake up (or stay up) for shuttle launch tonight


I’m here at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in preparation for the launch of STS-130 and the Space Shuttle Endeavour. After a brief spell of heavy rain last evening, the skies cleared, making a perfect backdrop for this morning’s retraction of the Rotating Service Structure to reveal Endeavour in all her glory.

Endeavour is scheduled to launch at 4:39am EST Sunday morning, and it will be worth waking up – or staying up – to see. This is the last scheduled night launch of a shuttle. With only five remaining launches, not only are the opportunities to view one dwindling, but experiencing the impressive views of a night launch will be likely gone forever by this time tomorrow. People who live along the eastern coastline have a good chance of viewing the launch from their backyards. If you’re further west in the US, why not just stay up a little later with friends and celebrate this milestone in the space program? You’ll still have plenty of time to go back to bed and wake up in time for football (if that suits your fancy).


I’ll be tweeting from Kennedy Space Center all night long as the launch approaches, and I’ve been constantly updating pictures over on Flickr. Stay tuned for continued mission coverage over the next week and a half, including an interview with the STS-130 crew member who is a maker at heart.

Pictured at top: This morning’s RSS Retraction, revealing Endeavour. Below: A night launch of the shuttle Discovery. Image courtesy NASA.

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