Launch day has arrived! Clay was able to get VIP tickets for the launch through a coworker. We get to the visitors' center around 7:30 in the morning. We dressed the girls in their new sparkly space shirts. Then we walked by the rocket garden to board the bus to the Saturn 5 Rocket center. Check out those rocket nozzles.
We had a few hours before the launch to tour the facility. Here is the actual Apollo capsule from from one of the last missions. Check out the black burn marks from re-entry. Can you believe that 3 men fit in there! Moon dust on Alan Shepard's spacesuit.
Here is a look at what the viewing area looked like. Yes, there were 5500 other VIPs with us.
Now for the grand finale -the launch of Atlantis STS-135 -the final voyage of the space shuttle program. It was an amazing experience to witness this historic event. The Atlantis is scheduled to return on July 20 -the 42nd anniversary of man's first step on the moon (and my sister's birthday).
Thoughts from Clay: My father woke me up one early April morning in 1981 (I was 7) to watch Columbia blast off and took me to a Discovery launch in Florida when I was a teenager. I wanted to provide my wife and children with the same experience. We were there to see Atlantis blast off on that beautiful July morning. It was electrifying.