Sunday, February 9, 2020

Day 3699

It's launch day. I got really close to the rocket this morning. I went out to Pad 41 with a group of photographers who were placing remote cameras near the launch pad. I was amazed at how close the United Launch Alliance people allowed the cameras to be placed. Some were less than the length of a football field from the rocket. The smart photographers stayed a little farther away. I heard all kinds of tales about remote cameras being destroyed during a launch. Almost everyone protected their cameras in some way. Many used plastic bags. Others created special containers from Tupperware. They would usually cut a round hole for their lens in the Tupperware lid. I saw some photographers set as many as six cameras, but most only left one of two near the launch pad.

The reason remote cameras are so popular is that this is the only to get a close up view of the rocket during lift off. There is always such a danger of explosions and hazardous fumes that people are kept at least 2-3 miles away during a launch. Remote cameras can get closer, but a lot of them have been destroyed over the years. Wind and rain get some, but the real danger is rocket fuel. The fumes from the solid rocker boosters are extremely toxic and can eat the coating off the front of your lens or fuse the segments of your tripod together. Everyone hopes that the wind is blowing away from their camera. Several people have been become badly burned just by touching equipment that had become coated with rocket fuel when they return to pick up their cameras. Needless to say, I didn't attempt to leave a remote camera at the pad this trip. I just don't have any cameras I can afford to lose.

I could afford to lose a few pounds. I've been having barbecue and fried foods ever since I arrived in Florida. I had some exceptionally delicious barbecue this afternoon, which will serve as both lunch and dinner. It's a good thing I don't travel much. It's hard to eat healthy when you're on the road. Right now I'm so full that I don't feel like eating again until I return to Dallas. I'll probably have heartburn for the next month.

I was wondering why the traffic was so light today and then remembered it was Sunday. I've totally lost track of time. I haven't turned on a TV or even listened to the radio since I left Dallas. It's kind of nice not hearing about impeachment or the coronavirus. I end up talking to a lot of people at these launch events and nobody ever talks about politics. Democrats and Republicans actually get along with each other. People will talk about their family or their dog, but mostly they just talk about rockets. It's a time to forget about the world and learn an enormous amount about space travel.

It was interesting meeting the other photographers this morning. Some of these guys seemed to be permanent road warriors. They were always traveling somewhere and most had been everywhere. Surprisingly, there were very few young guys. A lot of the photographers seemed even older than I was. Many of them had little interest in social media. I think the magazine guys realized that they were the last of their kind. Maybe that's why NASA is making such an effort to recruit social media influencers. Social Media is how younger people get their news these days. I'm glad newspapers and magazines still exist, but I have to admit that even I learn about most things on Facebook now.

I'm going to take a little nap before I head back to Kennedy Space Center for tonight's launch. It's going to be a long evening. Liftoff is supposed to take place around 11 PM. I've been told to dress warmly, but you have to take what Florida people tell you with a grain of salt. It's not that cold here. I hope the launch doesn't get scrubbed. It's been a great week, but I'm ready to go home and meet our new houseguest. Janet says that Dawn is doing great.

Jazz is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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