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By Stephen Kramer

I live in Florida, only along the West Coast (or left coast) of Florida. As is typical for shuttle launches, people come out of (the woodwork) their residences and workplaces to witness the launch of the Space Shuttle, whether it's 1 mile or 200 miles away.

At "T" minus 10 seconds or less, it's a race into the streets to see who can get the best view of the launch, in spite of the tall trees, clouds and grouchy neighbors.

Where our neighborhood is located we're about 160 miles as the crow flies to the launch pad. On a clear day you can see forever (reminds me of a song). In other words, you can see the plume of smoke trailing behind the rocket, the stream of fire coming out of the rocket, and the reflection of the sun off of the rocket. The rocket looks like a whisker on fire from our vantage point. It's very small, but what do you want from 160 miles away?

I've driven over to the Space Coast on several occasions for previous Space Shuttle launches only to be disappointed when the thing didn't go off. It's about a three hour drive for nothing when that happens. Therefore, I have never seen a launch from the Space Coast, only from the Suncoast, 160 miles away.

As usual, some neighbors are new to the neighborhood and have never witnessed a launch from 160 miles away. Of course, I, being the veteran of all Space Shuttle launches from 160 miles away, am the professional, long-distance Space Shuttle launch expert and guide.

My new neighbor is standing out there with his video camera to film the launch from 160 miles away. LOL! From here the Space Shuttle launch looks like a commercial jet (ONLY SMALLER!!!) with a smoke trail flying at 30,000 to 40,000 feet, only instead of the smoke trail going across the sky, the smoke trail tends to lean up and down as one would expect.

Then, we hear one of the neighbors working in his yard using a power tool and the daughter of the neighbor filming the launch, yells out, "I hear it! I hear it!" LOL!

Then, the wife of the neighbor filming the launch, and mother of the daughter yelling "I hear it!" says, "Oh, I see it! I see it! Do you see it?" As the wife and mother points out a commercial jet flying high overhead in the direction of Miami. LOL!

I said to the mother, "It looks like you're looking in the wrong direction. It's over there!" As I pointed it out to her over the horizon. LOL! It was much more on the horizon, than overhead. I should have kept my mouth shut and let her think the jet was the Space Shuttle. LOL!

See what you're missing by not living in Florida?

Copyright Stephen Kramer

p.s. - Space Shuttle Launch No. 115. Are we there yet?

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In addition to writing humor, Kramer is a cartoonist. Visit his website where you will find over 360 original, award-winning cartoons as well as additional humor columns


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