Okay, for those of you that know me, you already know that I'm a space geek. For the rest of you that don't know me, well, I'm a space geek, what can I say?
Anywho, I love y'all enough to relate this story and why today was special to me, I hope you don't mind me blabbing!
I remember January 28, 1986 like it was yesterday. I was 11 years old and lying in bed with the flu and the Challenger was on the pad with steam flowing all around it. I was going nuts and jumping all over my bed, pretty good for sick kid! I watched the the Challenger go up on my 12 inch screen and then I saw the monstrous bloom of white smoke with the SRBs going off in random directions. I knew immediately that something was wrong and I remember Houston hailing Challenger with something like, "Challenger, this is Houston, please respond, over," over and over and over again. A few days later my grandpa gave me a Jason Empire 700mm x 60mm telescope for my birthday and although it was bittersweet, I eventually managed to see the rings of Saturn and the Big Red Spot on Jupiter.
February 1, 2003 I woke up and turned on CNN and caught the live broadcast of a few bright points of light trailing thin lines of smoke crossing a light blue sky. I heard a commentator saying, "I think something might be wrong. What's going on?" I knew immediately that the crew of the Columbia was dead and that the tiles were to blame, nothing else could do that. Later on, I heard Paul Harvey quote a Reverend who described the in-flight breakup video like this, "Tears across the face of Heaven."
I listened to the descent and landing while I was at work this morning and got teary eyed when I heard, "Nose gear down," I jumped up and down again, just like the kid that I am. Welcome home, Discovery!!!