The shuttle Endeavor is at the space station right now. It had a flawless launch just before 7pm CST Friday. My boys and I were watching Space Chimps and we had just watched the scene where they blast off of the launch pad and I said, “Hey, it’s about time for the real shuttle to launch!” I paused the cartoon and flipped over to NASA TV just in time to catch the 9-minute countdown. It was really cool because that gave me just enough time to explain what happens in those last 10 seconds before lift-off. If you didn’t catch it, it was great! Night launch. Gorgeous.
One of my favorite astronauts, Don Pettit, is aboard this flight. He’s a NASA Science Officer, which is way cooler than being a pilot or mission commander. I like him so much because of his devotion to scientific experiments, even simple elementary-level ones. But what’s great about him is his constant attention to NASA’s mission of educating the public. Check out some of his articles, especially this video collection of what happens when you get Alka-Seltzer wet in space!
Folks in the continental US will be able to see the shuttle each evening this week. Head over to heavens-above.com and put in your location to get all the visible passes for you this week. Since the shuttle and the ISS are connected right now, the shuttle isn’t listed as a satellite. Click on the link for the ISS instead. No binoculars or any other special equipment needed. It’ll be as bright as the brightest star in the sky.