Our last two weeks in Florida were pretty uneventful. Overall, we accomplished what we came here to do and got a few extra things done along the way.
This past week, Trey went with Walter to Louisville, KY for a conference and Susan stayed home. There have been very few times in our 20+ years of marriage when we have been apart. When we have traveled, we almost always have traveled together and most of our marriage we have been blessed to be able to work together from home. Susan occasionally has jobs where she commutes, but most of the time we are both home - together.
You can only imagine the slew of emotions Susan felt as Trey prepared to leave for three entire days. This was the longest time she had spent alone in over 20 years... and she was so excited! Please don't misunderstand, we absolutely love spending so much time together and wouldn't change that for anything, but solitude on occasion is a good thing too.
The only downside of Trey's trip was the launch schedule of NASA's Orion test flight which was set the morning his flight was to return to Florida. The launch was set for 7:05 AM Thursday. Susan would go alone. She woke up at 3 AM and couldn't go back to sleep - too much excitement! A little after 5 AM she left to view the launch. She was all set up and ready to view by 6 AM and now the only thing to do was wait, and wait, and wait. During that wait, she watched a beautiful sunrise!
She met a few other folks waiting for the launch. One lady drove in from Virginia on Wednesday. She worked for NASA and only had Thursday to catch the launch. She had to drive back home that morning.
In Kentucky, Trey woke up early watched the launch prep on the web. We texted back and forth frequently. Right about 7 AM the viewing area's cell towers were so overloaded that Susan lost internet capability. Fortunately, we still have our flip phones (almost as old as the Apollo missions) so the texts still got through.
Three attempts and three scrubs later, NASA announced that there would be no launch today. We were both disappointed, but glad Trey would be home for the next attempt.
He arrived home Thursday afternoon and after visiting for a couple of hours, we both went to bed early.
We woke up Friday morning at 5:00 AM to checked the weather: rain.
NASA said they were good to go, but we needed the rain to stop so we could ride the scooter to the viewing site. By 6:30 AM it slowed to a light mist, so we geared up and rode off. We arrived at the park a bit before 7AM and hurried to the shore of the Banana River. Our spot was about 12 miles from the launch pad. This view is at 20X zoom on our camera.
A few minutes after our arrival, the rockets flared and Orion took off. The camera wanted to focus on the light, rather than the rocket, so these pictures were a bit blurry.
The lauch was pretty quiet.
The crowd was quite, the air was quiet, and we were quiet.
The rocket could be seen for about about ~30 seconds and then it disappeared into the low cloud ceiling.
About that time the rocket disappeared into the clouds, it got noisy in the park. The roar came across the water and slammed into us waiting on the shore. It wasn't a chest thumping roar from that distance, but we could certainly feel the vibrations in our feet and our ears were filled with the sound of the rocket engines. Slowly, the great roar diminished into a purr and the crowd applauded the successful launch. What a great morning!
We left the park and headed home. We discussed leaving Florida today, but decided to wait one more day. We were both pretty tired. We turned on the TV to the NASA station and watched it until the Orion module splashdown in California.
Walter and Amy dropped by to watch the landing with us. After a quick goodbye lunch with them, we returned to NASA TV and alternated learning more, napping, and getting a little more work done. It was a very Cocoa kind of day.
This Orion launch was a big day for NASA and our nation's Space program. It was the beginning of the next phase of space exploration and many expectations were exceeded today . We were so thankful that everything went well and that NASA (and America) had a good day.
But we are thankful for so much more. During all of this, our minds were also drawn to our true hope from the sky. One day, hopefully soon, there will be another, bigger, better event in the heavens. It will also be filled with light and sounds. This is our comfort and our hope.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4.16-18