Saturday, May 15, 2010

And just like that...It blasted off into space!!!

This morning the sky was clear and temperature perfectly nice and warm. Let's just say something felt right about today when a huge Kennedy Space Center (KSC) bus arrived in our hotel. The journey took a while before entering KSC in Cape Canaveral and we proceeded towards our final destination the OSB II Building just opposite the Vehicle Assembly Building painted with a huge NASA logo and an American flag.

Inside OSB II

Dr. Sheikh with Jose Hernandez

Vehicle Assembly Building in the background

The crowd assembled at the conference room for a launch presentation. There was excitement in the air when everybody adjourned to the viewing deck just outside located on the 5th floor of the building. The who's who of space explorers were there from the legendary Buzz Aldrin to Sergei Krikalev the world famous cosmonaut. In addition, Marcos Pontes the Brazilian astronaut, Jose Hernandez the Mexican astronaut and not forgetting our very own Angkasawan Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar and many other astronauts were present.

Buzz Aldrin

Sergei Krikalev

With Marcos Pontes

Guess who???

There was a buzz in the air as people waited for the final launch of shuttle Atlantis. The countdown began and everyone shouted along 10, 9, 8... when in a distance we could see smoke coming out of the main engines. The ground was rumbling and the space shuttle took off producing a flash of light so bright, it blinded me for a second as I quickly grabbed my sunglasses to cut the blazing glare. I tracked Atlantis mid air, this time roaring through the sky with a deafening noise leaving behind a huge plume of smoke. I was in awe just watching it climb further into the atmosphere and just like was gone, blasting off into space. Oh what a rush, catching it live right before my eyes!!! Jubilation filled the air and everyone clapped and congratulated each other. Replays of the launch was played over and over again on all the video screens in OSB II, recapturing the historic moment.

Inside, corn bread and beans were served as a tradition following a successful launch and indeed it was. I wished everyone was here with me to witness it. It was reported that more than 300,000 people jammed the launch area (double of the usual amount) to experience the thrill of watching a space shuttle launch as there remains only 2 launches left. Do enjoy this video and until next time 'Reach for the skies!!!'...Faiz

Beans anyone?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Space shuttle Atlantis gears up for final launch

The space shuttle Atlantis blasts off Friday on the last mission of its 25-year career, taking astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) one last time before becoming a museum piece. The 32nd and final voyage for Atlantis, which first launched in 1985, will take six astronauts to the orbiting space research facility, delivering an integrated cargo carrier and a Russian-built mini research module. Lift-off is scheduled for 2:20pm (Malaysia 2:20am) from Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral in Florida, weather-permitting.

By Jean-Louis Santini

Finally in Florida

We finally arrived in Orlando, Florida this evening and made our way down to the town of Melbourne (very near Kennedy Space Center) before retiring in for the night. We're looking forward to an eventful day tomorrow, which will look something like this:

Arrive OSB II (KSC)

12:00 noon
Administrator’s Briefing

Master of Ceremonies
Miguel Rodriguez, Deputy Director, Engineering Directorate
National Anthem
Suzy Cunningham, Advanced Planning Office
Robert Cabana, Director Kennedy Space Center
Anatoly Perminov, Chief Russian Federal Space Agency
Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator
Astronaut Scott Altman

2:28 pm
LAUNCH of Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-132

Traditional Cornbread & Bean Successful Launch Celebration

We're praying for some good weather and a successful launch...Faiz

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Welcome to the land of iPads

After 18 hours of flight via Taipei we finally arrived into USA the land of the iPads. We've got 12 hours before our next connection to Orlando, Florida so what do we do... we headed down to the nearest mac store to get our hands on these wonderful machines.

Dr. Sheikh getting his hands on the iPad

Let me just personally say that they're great!!! Unfortunately for us the iPads are pretty much sold out everywhere...Ah well better luck in Florida. We're excited about the coming Shuttle launch and very glad to be in Los Angeles for the time being. Good night until next time... Faiz

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

STS-132 Launch on Friday 14th May 2010

Follow our blog updates, as we will be leaving for Florida tomorrow to witness the final launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis scheduled for Friday 14th May 2010 2:20pm EDT (Malaysia: Saturday 15th May 2010 2:20am)...