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Shuttled and Scuttled

Did you know you can watch the space shuttle take off from Vero Beach?

We didn’t.

So we just missed it last Friday.


“Hey, I wonder why all those people are gathered on the beach?”

We sure felt stupid.

Speaking of stupid, how about this shuttle mission? The insulating blanket seems to have been improperly buckled down or strapped on before launch, so part of it peeled back. They’re going to send an astronaut out to fix it with a surgical stapler. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try sewing it up with needle and thread. No, I’m not making this up.

And now comes news that the International Space Station is experiencing a computer failure so massive they may have to scuttle the whole thing, though they’re saying that’s an unlikely worst-case scenario.

I keep thinking: If this is the measure of our technological accomplishment, how can we expect decent flood control?

Published inGeekyPix


  1. Isn’t Vero Beach where the hapledd hero of I Dream of Jeannie lived? Of course all the real astronauts lived in Houston. But now I have that awful theme song stuck in my head. I remember a professor telling me about watching an Apollo lift-off. The comete sensory overload of light, sound and vibration left people stunned and wandering around like someone who’s just been in an accident. He remembered the launch but not the time during which he wandered a mile down the beach after.

  2. Carmen Carmen

    “Hey, I wonder why all those people are gathered on the beach?”
    We sure felt stupid.


    It’s the rapture. You missed it.

  3. Heh. There’s an old Talmudic saying about the comignof the Messiah. There have been so many false ones over the centuries that “if you are planting a tree and the Messiah comes, first finish the planting. Then go to greet the Messiah.”

  4. see the Dutch engineers need to be put in charge of the space shuttle program.. maybe. They’re pretty good at flood gates anyway.. =)

    ps: supposedly you can see the shuttle launch from WDW/ Celebration, Florida area.. but yeah the beach cities are better for viewing I would think.

  5. I grew up not far from there, and as a kid it was a big deal when the shuttle would launch. We’d all go out on the playground and watch–every time. I was in 6th grade when we went out to watch the Challenger take off; we were all excited that a teacher (Christa McAuliffe) was going up. I remember standing in the school yard and thinking something wasn’t right, then another kid ran up with his (illegal) radio and started yelling that the shuttle had exploded. It was crazy. I haven’t been able to watch launches since then–in person or otherwise–without freaking out a little.

  6. Tony Tony

    Having been an engineer on the external tank I have been witness to a lot of these “low-tech” fixes. But hey if it works why not. The thermal protection systems of both the orbiter and external tank are still, in my mind, developing technologies so a lot of the repair methods used seem unconventional or unorthodox.

  7. As a child I watched many many shots launches. My Grandparents live in Melbourne FL. From where they lived it was easy to read the letters on the side of the Saturn V as it ascended.

    We often went fishing at the “tracking station” up the coast. here we watched many test flights. It was magic.

  8. Growing up in the Daytona Beach area, I share many of chrissieroux’s memories. (Apparently I’m a couple years older than she is.) Anyhoo, not only could you see the shuttle take off, but oftentimes several minutes later you could hear and feel the faint rumbling from the takeoff, many miles away.

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