Mission Launch
In Spanish
1997 Puerto Rico Eclipse
Puerto Vallerto, Mexico

      Dad & I, took our third  trip, to Florida, to see the launch of the NASA Space Shuttle, Columbia on mission STS-75,
Feb 22, 1996 from the Kennedy Space Center. we did not get to see it land on  March 9, 1996. It's mission was to
experiment with the Tethered Satellite System and the United States Microgravity Payload  (USMP-3) designed to
investigate materials science and condensed matter physics.

Commander:  Andrew M. Allen
Pilot:  Scott J. Horowitz
Payload Commander:  Franklin R. Chang-Diaz
Mission Specialist:  Maurizio Cheli, ESA
Mission Specialist:  Jeffrey A. Hoffman
Mission Specialist:  Claude Nicollie, ESA
Payload Specialist:  Umberto Guidoni, Italy

Link to NASA PageThe Mission Patch for The Columbia STS-75     Video->  Unexplained Electro-Dynamic Tethers Overloads?
                                                                                                                                   Video -->  Better Sound Here

   What a sight and although it was only visible for 33 seconds, because of an inherent Florida haze,

I did manage to shoot some great video footage. Dad took some very nice 35mm images
with a 1949 Kodak Retina 1a, folding manual camera.
  Here I am standing in front of  the Vehicle Assembly Building.  That's where they put the Shuttle together
folks and it is big, Big, BIG! The bus tour guide said that a Greyhound bus could drive on one of the flag
stripes without touching a white strip.  More succinctly,  that 'spot' about an inch under the star, is a Turkey
Buzzard with a 6 foot wingspan.  While the tour we took was informative, we were not allowed to enter any
of the buildings. Something about the noxious fumes from the propellant gases they load into the Shuttle.

  The above image is a stitch of two images at take-off.
You can see the cloud layer we had that morning.  It took
12.5 seconds for the sound to get to us after lift-off and
I could feel an undulating wave of pressure on my chest.
                                                           Man, what a feeling and a sound!!

 After the Blast-off we all piled into 6 huge Greyhound buses and got a
Drive around the base, so se up close the launch pad, where they bring in
the stages from the ocean and the flora & fauna aorund the area, and as for
that what where the He!! you are stepping, there are Alligators AL Over the place.

  I wish Everyone on Earth should have the chance to see a spacecraft liftoff for Outer Space.
The feeling of Pride I felt when that shock wave hit me FULL in the chest, made tears well up in
my eyes. There were men and women going off to work in SPACE!! Trained to run experiments
and test the undoable (back here on Earth). Things that would help astronauts work & live out there
in the future.  You think you feel good when your home team hits a homerun or makes a touchdown.....
       It ain't NOTHIN' compared to seeing that rocket head off toward the stars!!!!! Dark Skies !!

                                           Think Cosmic!!                   Tom in Ft. Collins, CO   May 14, 2006