Thursday, May 30, 2002  [!]

Today's launch day. This is the launch of STS-111, Space Shuttle Endeavor. I've just been surfing to various weather sites to see if there's any update from the cloudy/thunderstorm predictions for evening. Right now they say there's a 40% chance of launch (or 60% chance of launch being prevented by weather conditions). Earlier in the week, people were saying that it'd be getting worse on Friday and the weekend, but from what I see, partly cloudy is better than thunderstorms. So if Endeavor doesn't fly today, then (fingers crossed) tomorrow.

There's a page that links to a live NASA TV feed for you to watch the launch. Begins 4:30 eastern.

Pictures from the Reception (Tuesday evening) 800 people —NASA Space Flight Awareness Honorees, their guests, and other distinguished visitors and their guests all piled into one of the cruise terminals the other night for a reception.

reception crowd:
This is how crowded it was when all were gathered around to hear remarks from various heads of NASA centers deliver their kudos to the Honorees and thanking them for their consistent and persistent hard work and attention to detail.

A whole bunch of astronauts in their blue flight suits were present, and in addition to eating, drinking and chatting, the business of the reception was to meet and collect as many signatures from as many astronauts as one could.

Of course, the first one I went for was Scott Kelly, the twin brother of Mark Kelly, whom I'd met earlier that day at the Honoree Awards Luncheon.

scott kelly and susan:

Notice any resemblance to his brother?

susan and mark kelly:

I'm just going to post the rest of these here, since we have to be on the bus ready to go in not that many minutes' time and I don't want my enthusiasm for narration to make me late for the launch... I'll add it in later.

alvin drew signing:
Alvin Drew

susan tracy caldwell:
With Tracy Caldwell (who liked that I called her a "flygirl" —I wanted to be sure to get signatures of the three women astronauts present)

wendy lawrence:
Wendy Lawrence

bob behnken:
Bob Behnken

jerry cessi suni williams signing:
Suni Williams signs for some JPLers

jplers and suni williams:
Suni Williams surrounded by JPLers

susan terry virts:
With Terry Virts

astronaut group shot:
Sure, they are the best of the best. Sure they've trained and trained to do what they do. But that doesn't mean that they aren't amused by all looking into the swiveled around LED of a Nikon Coolpix camera while their group photo is being taken!

astronauts chow down:
At the end of the event, the astronauts, who'd stood so patiently to shake hands, sign autographs and pose for pictures, finally got to chow down.

[ NASA Awards banquet and Cocoa Beach | Tour of Kennedy Space Center | Report about Scrubbed Launch | We (finally) Have Liftoff! ]