Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Discovery Knocks On My Door

I could not sleep, knowing that the Space Shuttle Discovery was going to land this morning.

Having caught a news update around midnight PST saying that the shuttle landing in Florida had been scrubbed, I knew they would land in California. Still, I tried to go to bed. After tossing a turning for about a half-hour, I decided to get up and watch the shuttle coverage.

There I was, leaning on my left elbow watching ABC News, wondering if I would hear the double sonic boom that I used to hear when the shuttle landed at Edwards AFB in the early 1990's. I was kind of hoping to hear it.

The flight trajectory map shown on TV stunned me. They used to fly in over Los Angeles and then onward to Edwards. However, in the light of the Columbia disaster, NASA decided not to fly the orbiter over densely populated areas. Instead, it would fly...

RIGHT OVER MY HOUSE.

Well, not precisely, but certainly close. The big question on my mind is, will I be able to hear that double sonic boom at my house?

Back to watching the TV. Charles Gibson is interviewing some expert about something or another. OK, they are about one hundred miles out, at about 87,000 feet, and...

BOOM! BOOM!

Question Answered. At 5:03am PST my old friend, the signature double sonic boom, rattled my house. It is a very staccato sound, like someone pounding on a door with their fist in rapid succession. Except it is loud enough to wake everyone within fifty miles.

Welcome home, Discovery. Congratulations to the crew and NASA for putting America back in space and home safely again.

UPDATE: Pyromaniac, whom lives about twenty miles from me as the crow flies, reports on his wake-up call.

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