Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Go fever

OK, NASA just concluded their press conference. The launch is ON!  What launch? you say. Well the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour for mission STS-130 which will bring the Tranquility node (node 3), along with my favorite module, The Cupola, up to the International Space Station.  I waited to start this blog until NASA made the launch date official, which is exactly what they did by making that announcement.  For quite a while now, I've been anticipating and planning for my trip to 'cover' it's launch  for WORT 89.9 FM, the community radio station that I volunteer at .  My plans are starting to come together and I will be blogging all about it on this blog. Hopefully they will culminate with the,on-time, launch on Super bowl Sunday at 4:39 a.m. EST.  Followed by more posts about my return home.  This launch will be the last night time launch of a space shuttle EVER. Hooray for witnessing history!

OK, since this is my first post in this blog, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rich, I'm a power plant worker living in Madison Wisconsin. I'm 39 years old and am a bit of a space geek. That's not all I am though. I'm lots of things, which I'm sure I'll get into eventually.  I'm not what you imagine. Not at all.  I've been wanting to see a space shuttle launch, in person,  for a long long time.  In elementary school, I remember my teacher rolling in a television set into our classroom, so that we could watch the first shuttle blast off. How cool that was.  Over the last couple of years I've tried a few times to get tickets to view the launch from the causeway (the closest point you can buy a ticket for). Unfortunately they sell out within the same day they are put up for sale and I've haven't managed to get one yet. I don't think that they are exceptionally hard to get, I just never did. Mostly my fault.

 A little over a year ago I started volunteering to engineer (operating the studio sound board) for a few hours, a couple days a week, at WORT 89.9FM.  I also joined a collective of people who produce a science themed show ( The Perpetual Notion Machine.) for broadcast there.  Throwing myself to the wolves I, with zero radio or production experience, volunteered to produce a upcoming show.  It was in preparation for that show that I had to deal with NASA. You see, I wanted to wow the people in the collective, in addition to myself, so I decided to try and get myself an interview with an astronaut. I went through their on line interview request system and a few days later I was recording a phone interview with Don Pettit, astronaut.  I was pretty giddy. I was actually having a conversation with a guy who lived (for a significant time) in space. A real spaceman!  After editing the interview down It turned into, what I felt was, a pretty nice show. The couple people that heard it, told me it was good.  Of course I have an mp3 of it for posterity.  After doing that, the idea popped into my head that I may be able to go see a shuttle launch, as a member of the media, which I guess I now was.  So I went back to NASA's web site again, this time to apply for media accreditation for STS-130.  There were some hoops to jump through to make it happen, but in the end I got em. I am now a accredited space journalist, I guess.  Thanks to some very nice people at NASA, who I guess don't get many personable emails, I have, waiting for me in the press center, my own chair (with a desk, I think), access to power, but no Internet access. That mess, will be a whole different post, but I'm hoping some bigshot news org may let me glom onto their wi-fi.  Keep your fingers crossed, or all my posts are going to be from my iPhone (which is actually pretty capable).

Now, here's the really fun part about my trip. It's not just a trip to Florida...It's a ROAD trip to Florida.  I'm taking a entire week of vacation, plus the previous Thursday and Friday, to drive my hot little car all the way from, sub-zero, cold Madison Wisconsin, down to hopefully sunny Florida.  I've even got plans to meet up with a past shipmate, and maybe even a current club brother. But that's stuff for other posts.  Wish me luck.


At January 31, 2010 at 4:24 PM , Anonymous dragonlms said...

Such an interesting turn of events that got you to the press center of the launch.
How cool is that that a passion from childhood is coming to be. How many people have you heard say, "I've been wanting to -fill in blank- since I was kid. Someday I'll get there/do that/experience that..." You actually made your someday happen.

Good luck!


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be nice.

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