This morning I grabbed my phone and found myself in the middle of a spontaneous party that erupted across the net. I didn’t watch it on TV. I used Twitter, Flickr and Facebook to watch the space shuttle Discovery ride atop a 747 on it’s final trip bound for it’s new home at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum annex in Virginia.
Sometimes, a community stops
for a moment
a last look
I scrolled through my Facebook feed and followed #SpottheShuttle on Twitter. I keep my twitter account to participate in conversations that occurring locally, regionally, nationally or globally. All you need is a twitter account, look at “trending topics” click on a keyword to dive in.
I asked my friend Elysa Darling to share what it was like this morning for my library kids:
I was at the museum last month…and a docent was telling us all about the pending arrival of the shuttle. It was fascinating. I was looking at the Enterprise and wondering how the heck something that size can even get off the ground. Just the amount of fuel to get it here is crazy. He told us it has to stop and refuel along the way since it can’t make it all the way to DC on a single tank.
I remember as a kid staying home from school (I was sick) and watched the Challenger disaster live on TV. For some reason that really had an impact on me and I still remember it pretty well. I think back then it was still a big deal to see a space shuttle launch. We used to get dressed up to go on an airplane ride! It seems to have lost its novelty, so I was so surprised to see the thousands of people who turned out.
Since the schedule was vague I figured I’d miss it, but I had my new Nikon with me just in case I caught a glimpse. I was on the Rte. 28 / Frying Pan Rd. in Herndon overpass across the highway from Dulles Airport. I usually go this route to work every day and love seeing planes take off and land so close since it’s parallel to the runway. It usually takes me 12 or so minutes to get there but it took a good 30 minutes plus today. Hundreds of people were stopped on the side of the road all the way up to the airport. I’d never seen anything like that out here before.
When I pulled of the highway exit onto the Frying Pan overpass everyone was stopped and out of their cars. There was an open spot right in the center of the overpass so I decided to park. People were all gathered around and were so excited. I waited about 20 minutes and finally it came in for the approach. You can see the sequence in my Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elysa222/sets/.
It came by so close and people were yelling and waving. I just kept clicking pictures. My first though was (I think I said out loud) Wow, it’s so dirty! You could really see the wear and tear on it. Very authentic.
That was the best excuse for being late for work and something I’ll remember 30 years from now.
My friend Andrew shared his thoughts and excellent photos on his blog here.
Into the Wild Blue Yonder,
Librarian tip: The Museum is free but parking is $15.00. Just thought you would want to know.