There are only two more shuttle launches. Ever. Yeah, you read that correctly. Two more launches, and the space shuttle program will be retired. And with the state of the economy, I'm not holding my breath that funding for the last launch will still be there. The space shuttle is old. It wasn't intended to be used this long anyway. By now NASA had hoped to have a replacement ready to go. The replacement was supposed to look more like an airplane than a shuttle. That hasn't happened yet. After the last two launches, American astronauts will hitch rides on the Russian launches to get to Mir. My hopes of seeing a moon landing, or a Mars landing, are getting smaller and smaller.
When I lived in Miami, I could see the launches, sort of. I would watch it actually launch on TV, then run out to my front yard. From there I could see the white trail of smoke, and the orange-ish color of the booster rockets separating. That's definitely not the same as seeing it in person. Ronnie has never seen a launch at all, but has always wanted to. Paige has most definitely never seen a launch. With only two launches left, what are we to do?
You guessed it. We're going to a launch! The next launch is September 16th, with the final launch happening sometime in November. A definite date can't be set this early, but will be set soon. You can check out all the details here. It's a Thursday launch. Living in Alabama, we're close enough to drive to Kennedy Space Center. I booked a hotel room in Cocoa Beach, about 15 minutes away from Kennedy, for a great price. We could have stayed closer, but what we're paying for our three night stay is cheaper than a one night stay closer in. This trip is definitely on a budget. And ours is close to the beach, which is important. A shuttle launch date is tentative. If something happens with the shuttle or the weather, the launch is delayed. We'll arrive on Wednesday afternoon and stay until Saturday. That gives us some wiggle room in case the launch is delayed. Staying on the beach means we can play there for free.
Tickets for the launch won't go on sale until closer to the actual event. I've signed up for emails letting me know when they go on sale. And I will keep checking in as well. They should go on sale within three to six weeks of the launch date. This is a once in a lifetime event for us, since it won't be happening again. If you can, try to make it to one of the launches. You still have time to plan for the one in September.