It might surprise you to know that I’ve never been to a rocket launch. Even though I’ve been publishing Universe Today for over 11 years, and written thousands of articles about space and astronomy, covering every aspect of the space industry, I’ve never actually experienced it first hand.
It’s the blessing and the curse of the internet, I guess. I started Universe Today in my spare time, from my house in Vancouver because it was possible. With myself as the journalist (and publisher), I didn’t need anyone’s permission to just start reporting. Thanks to the internet, I could reach an audience of thousands, and eventually millions – for free. And somehow it turned into a career. I was able to bring in enough advertising revenue to cover my salary, and even bring on other writers. But I’ve always been so busy handling the business/webmastering side of Universe Today that I’ve never taken the time to go to Florida and report on a rocket launch for myself.
Well, that’s about to change. On April 29th, 2011, the space shuttle Endeavour is going to blast off for the last time, delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. And I’m going to be covering the story, live, from the Kennedy Space Center, together with Jason and Ken.
This mission has a personal angle as well. It was just over 30 years ago, on April 12th, 1981 when the space shuttle launched for the first time – STS-1. My father was always a fan of space exploration, and he woke me up early that morning so we could watch the launch of Columbia together on our tiny black-and-white television. I remember that day vividly, and it was one of the turning points of my life. I can trace my entire career in space journalism right back to that April morning.
I’ve always put off making the epic journey from Vancouver Island to Cape Canaveral, but I just couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to do this one personally. See you in Florida.