Houston, We Have a Problem

From the second I found out I was going to Orlando, Florida; a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre was first on my list without any hesitation.

It took us just over an hour to reach Cape Canaveral from Kissimmee and as soon as we arrived we raced in and explored. Read my post on the Kennedy Space Centre here.

Before travelling, I was checking the website every week for months in hope of a rocket launch around my time of visit and with much excitement learned that SpaceX were due to launch its most modern Falcon 9 rocket, delivering Bangabandhu-1, the first Bangladeshi telecom satellite, into geostationary transfer orbit.

After completing all of the other areas of the space centre, including the incredible Apollo/Saturn V Centre – we headed outside and took our seats on the viewing platform.

The viewing platform, named Banana Creek; is located just outside the centre is the closest viewing area to the launch pad. The area also had a knowledgeable speaker; who kept spirits raised, gave informative talks, good updates on the progress of the launch and also answered any questions you had. Our speaker Geoff was amusing.

T-minus 5 hours til rocket launch. 

A couple of hundred people spread out onto the grass areas surrounding the centre, the viewing area and the canteen; everyone is anxiously awaiting the launch.

Trying to keep ourselves busy, we had lunch and took another look around the Apollo/Saturn V Centre. If you visit, you have to make sure you take time out of your day to have your photograph taken in against the green screen.  You can see our pictures below; you wont regret it.

T-minus 2 hours til rocket launch.

As you can imagine, the wait was long. Everyone gathers early to ensure the best possible seat.. even though you have the same view wherever you stand.

It was absolutely boiling, there was no shade and trust me; it was hard to get comfortable; considering we were sat on metal benches for the best part of 4 hours.

T-minus 1 hour til rocket launch.

Right, okay… one hour to go, we’ve got this.

As you can imagine, the spirit picked up again. A parade started with the Bangladeshi visitors, the sang the national anthem whilst parading the viewing area. Excitement was real.

Bangladesh’s spends around $14 million every year for satellite connectivity. That expense will no longer be necessary with the result of this launch. It was a new era for them, and you could clearly see the enthusiasm.

Fueling of densified LOX (Liquid Oxygen) into the first stage also began at T-35mins

T-minus 15 minutes til rocket launch.

At T-16mins, fueling of the second stage with LOX commenced.

Just after out 15 minute warning, the countdown clock came to a hault. There was a lot of confused faces and mumbling coming from the crowd. Geoff came over the mic and advised us that at any given time, a rocket launch may be delayed or scrubbed for a variety of reasons.

Panic over. The countdown started again but reset to 20 minutes. That’s okay, the last 5 hours were long enough, I could handle another 5 minutes.

T-minus 2 minutes til rocket launch.

Hereeeeeee we go! The moment we have waited patiently all day for is finally here.

We can finally start counting down. As the seconds ticked, the crowd started cheering. The Bangladeshi crowd were waving their countries flag and we all moved to the edge of our seats to start counting down from 60 seconds.

T-minus 1 minute til rocket launch.

Finally, here we go!

60….

59…

58.. Oh, wait.

The countdown stopped again for a second time. This time at T-minus 58 seconds.

The final minutes of the launch are fully controlled by computers. If the computer finds any measurement is out of normal it aborts the launch automatically.

Guess what..

You guessed it. At T-minus 58 seconds, the rocket launch was aborted.

I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was devastated… as you can imagine.

Even though we didn’t get to see the rocket launch we had hoped for, we still had an incredible day and experience at the Kennedy Space Centre. Check out my other posts, here!


Have you had a disappointing rocket launch experience?

 

 

 

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