Our vacation plan is to see a shuttle launch before NASA retires the current shuttles (which is scheduled for sometime in 2010). The mission we are aiming for is STS-128. The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for take-off to the ISS on August 6th. A time hasn’t been announced, but online searching looks like it may be sometime in the morning. Of all the days to schedule a launch, right now it’s on a Thursday. Our plan is to leave Monday and drive half way to Florida and find a place to stay overnight. Tuesday we will finish our drive to Florida. Wednesday we will check out how to get to the complex, and maybe find some places to take shots of the shuttle on the launch pad, and then Thursday is launch day. After that, we will spend some time at the beach. I have never been to an ocean beach, so I am really excited. We will be close to Florida’s treasure coast, so I am bringing my metal detector. I guess a bunch of Spanish ships sank of the coast, and the gold is still washing up on the shore. I will be instructing the girls to pick up anything that looks interesting to them. I don’t know how long we will stay, it all depends on if the launch goes as scheduled. That is my biggest fear. The tickets are good for the mission, not the launch date, so if they reschedule, the tickets are still usable, but what happens if we are already down there and they scrub the mission? I don’t know if we can arrange to get back down there when the launch actually happens. A policy of NASA’s also scares me. The tickets you buy to get on their launch field to be as close as possible (6 miles) are only good once. So if we get clear out to the viewing field and they scrub the mission, the tickets have already been used, so you’re out of luck. Sounds like a real crappy policy. I’m trying not to worry about it, because face it, it’s just too early in the year for that launch yet. That date could change another 20 times before July would come to purchase the tickets, so I will have a more definitive schedule in the summer.
We would like to camp to save some money, since hotels run about $100 a night, and camping is only $25 a night at Jetty Park. The park is located in Cape Canaveral, and is right off the beach. (Pray for no hurricanes!) It’s gorgeous, and I find myself staring at the satellite image on Google maps. Our taxes are funding the trip, so the more money we can save while we are down there, the more money we will have to put towards debt when we get back. I am very happy that we will not be charging the vacation though, that definitely shows me that we are making progress. Now for your viewing pleasure, go to maps.google.com and type in 400 Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral FL. Switch it to the satellite image, enlarge, and stare! MMM…BEACH!!!!