I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It was a different experience not being able to travel home for the break. I definitely missed home but I was able to have a nice dinner here on campus with some of my friends. I’m still not fully adjusted to the weather. It’s almost December and the weather is still above 70°. I know for sure, that I am going to be in a rude awakening when I return to New York. That reminds me, there is less than 2 weeks before winter break and the finishing of my first semester at Embry-Riddle!
Just before break, I finished up a group project in which we had to design an aircraft that would be able to carry a specified satellite payload anywhere in the United States. The payload is based on a previous group project that was completed back in October. I had a great time with that one because we had to design a launch vehicle from the ground up that would be able to place a satellite into a 200 nautical mile orbit.
The only tasks left to do are to finish up my final project for another engineering class. One more report for my communications course, and then study hard for my physics and calculus exams. Then I will be set to take a much needed vacation, home!
Another few exciting events took place within the past two weeks. I witnessed the launch of space shuttle Atlantis (STS-129)! As I stated earlier, I had class during that time, but my physics professor took us outside to view the launch. In my opinion, day launches are more exciting as I am able to view the launch vehicle in my binoculars. I was able to see Atlantis and its three main engines still firing away, well after SRB separation!
I also stated that an Atlas V was slated for liftoff a few days prior to the shuttle launch but it was scrubbed. However, a week later, the launch was rescheduled and liftoff was scheduled for 12:54AM on Monday the 23rd. The launch kept getting pushed back though due to heavy wind shears above the launch pad. The worst part of waiting to see if the launch would even take place within the given launch window was that I had an 8AM class that same morning. Some say you see one launch, you’ve seen them all, but not for me. I get really excited for any launch and I remained hopeful that a liftoff would occur. At precisely 1:51AM, mission managers gave the go for launch and at 1:55AM, the Atlas V soared into deep space! A few of my friends were outside with me who were also anxiously awaiting the launch. I assured them there would be a liftoff and fortunately there was. One of my colleagues was able to snap an awesome time lapse photo of the rocket’s ascent. 60 miles from the launch site and the view never gets old.
It’s been a unique experience thus far. I never imagined being 1,200 miles away from home let alone seeing the numerous launches occur at the Kennedy Space Center. Two years ago, I was instilled with a dream, a dream that one day I can be one of the few who have the chance to embark on the greatest adventure that mankind has ever known. Here I am now, grateful and fortunate to be here in Florida chasing down the journey of my lifetime. The work has been very challenging and I am very proud of what I have accomplished thus far.
See you out there!