When Did I Become a Space Geek?

The good news is, I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. The bad news is, I’m off to a really, really late start. I’m not exactly sure how many weeks of training are required to become an astronaut, or if I can even get it done at C.O.D., but I’m fairly certain that there aren’t a whole lot of Space Shuttle pilots who begin their careers at 45.

Since turning on the tv just in time to catch the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery’s final trip into orbit Thursday, I have been transfixed on NASA TV’s coverage of STS-133 and the shuttle’s rendezvous with the International Space Station. (**Side Note: Since my brother dragged me out of bed at 06:00 Thanksgiving weekend to watch the ISS fly over Pittsburgh, I’ve become an official junior tracker. I think this may have been the beginning of my geekdom. I’ve seen it once more over Brookfield; I’ve checked for it dozens of other times, but we don’t get many clearly nights lately. **) The live video feeds from space are fascinating. It’s fun just to see the Johnson Space Center personnel sitting at their desks in Houston.

I’m not going to try to link any of the various videos available related to this mission. If you decide to look, I suggest you start with the launch video from an airplane that has just taken off from Orlando. They get an awesome look from above the clouds.

I’m not knowledgable enough about what is being done on board the ISS on a daily basis to argue neither the defense of its existence, nor the reasons to scrap the program. It sure seems like a huge expense to be in outer space, performing experiments on how people, places, and things react to being in outer space. But as long as we’re there, I feel slightly remiss in not following along and learning more about what goes on out there. At least as far I can without it becoming homework.

One thing that would put this week over the top for me would have been for at least one Shuttle crew member to have enough time to live tweet what’s going on. I’ve managed to find one fake astronaut on Twitter, but he doesn’t seem to quite have a handle on things. Maybe that’s what I can train for: You don’t need to teach me all the technical rocket science, like the difference between port and starboard. Just make sure I can handle weightlessness and send texts at the same time. Hello? NASA? Do you copy, over?

19:50  I just came inside. The ISS was supposed to be going over at 19:35. It is a perfectly clear night, but I couldn’t see it. Not sure why. It was coming from the NNW, of which I have a pretty good view. Saw a bunch of stupid airplanes. it’s funny; I used to think the seeing the planes was cool, til I became a geek…

Oh well. Expecting another pass tomorrow night @ 18:25. Hopefully it’s clear again.

Mar 2 19:04 Watched a pass for the second night in a row. Same general location, from the NNW to the NNE, 10-13 degrees above the horizon. It’s coming back tomorrow night. You should look for it.

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