OK, the less-cool-but-more-immediate part:
Over a year ago, I started working on an interview with John Grunsfeld, who is going to be conducting one of the spacewalks on the upcoming STS-125 space shuttle mission. Grunsfeld has visited the Hubble Space Telescope twice before, and will have the opportunity to visit Hubble one last time next month.
The mission’s been delayed substantially since when I first started working on it, but with the launch now immenent, my interview has finally been posted online.
And that ties into the cooler part:
Right now, I’m very seriously planning on making yet another attempt to watch a shuttle launch in a couple of weeks.
Very much a last-minute-ish thing, but I’m planning on going to try to see the STS-125 launch, currently scheduled for May 11. When they moved it up a day, that meant I could travel down over the weekend and take less time off. Right now, I have no arrangements, save for a rental car (since I blame my last trip down to try and watch a launch for the eventual death of my convertible). There’s a slight chance I might want a traveling companion, so if anyone’s interested in a cheap trip, contact me directly and let me know. I’m planning on heading down on Sunday, May 10, and coming back on either the 12th or the 13th, depending on when the launch happens.
That said, I’m totally not getting my hopes up. This will be my third time in recent years going down for a launch, and I’m currently zero-for-two. I went down for STS-121 in July 2006, and spent a couple of days on the riverside watching Discovery not move. I then went back for STS-122 in December 2007 for a couple of scrubs of Atlantis. They scrubbed so early in the day for those that I didn’t even make it down to the riverside. I did get to go to Epcot, however, so that was kind of cool. (Expanding the tally a bit, I’m also one-for-two on unmanned launches, and oh-for-one on shuttle landings.)
And now, it’s apparently time for the latest iteration of my year-and-a-half cycle. I won’t be able to continue that any longer, however — a year and a half from now, the shuttle most likely won’t be flying anymore. So it’s either see it this time, or get serious about going more often. And I do want to see a shuttle launch before they’re through. There’s a good chance there won’t be another opportunity in my lifetime to see that much power be used to put people into space.
Under my current plan, I’ve got two opportunities to see it launch on this trip. I’m really hoping it works out this time.