CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - The one thing that always seems to capture the imagination of everyone is Space. The reason is simple. Despite the advances in exploration and the almost ridiculous “ho-hum” feel that we once put men on the moon, it remains the most expansive unknown of what is out there. It is so unknown, even though we think we know a lot, that it is truly up to the imagination of what exists and what it means. I’ve always been envious of all astronauts who have a rare and unique perspective of our world. They can look at you across the dinner table and while finding the words to describe what they have seen and felt, they know there is just no way you could understand the magnitude of it.
A few weeks back, NASA put out a tweet looking for up to 50 people to participate in their NASA Social event covering the Space X CRS-7 launch of it’s seventh cargo delivery to the International Space Station. The launch is now scheduled for Sunday, June 28 at 9:21 a.m. CT. The spacecraft is carrying more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and payloads including materials for science and experimentation. The spacecraft will stay docked for over five weeks then return to Earth with over 1,400 pounds of cargo, science experiments, crew supplies, computer hardware, trash and more.
If the launch happens on Sunday morning, it is expected to dock with the ISS around 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Astronaut Scott Kelly, who has begun a year-long stay in space, will capture the Dragon spacecraft with a robotic arm.
I was given the opportunity to be one of the 50 people to participate in the launch’s social coverage. It’s a real amazing opportunity to personalize for people what is still science fiction to some. Mother nature and flight cancellations caused me to unfortunately miss some of the tours and events of Day 1. Day 2 has other tours and press conferences and Day 3 is hopefully the launch of the Space X, which will give me a 2 a.m. viewing of the launchpad site.
To be blunt, I think it will be downright cool.
One aspect of this experience has frankly been discussing the opportunity to come down and people’s reaction to it. It’s like you’re awakening their inner Buck Rogers because it is still something that is typically only seen on TV, news clips or from afar (if you're lucky enough as you drive down the highway. I saw a shuttle launch one time that way).
I’ll shoot some photos, blog some thoughts, and most importantly, just take in what a launch is like from this vantage point. Hopefully through sharing it with whomever wants to read the blog or see the photos, we continue to fuel imagination and rev up discussion of what we know so little about.
Then see where it goes…
You can follow me on Twitter at @chriskerber.
Thanks for reading.