Monday, April 5, 2010

Launch of STS-131 Discovery from Cape Canaveral

View the Launch of STS-131
Monday, April 05, 2010; 2:30-7:30 AM
Astronaut Hall of Fame
NASA Parkway
Kennedy Space Center
Titusville, FL 32780

This morning I watched the launch of STS-131 (Space Transportation System -131) Space Shuttle (Discovery) with a crew of 7 (Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot Jim Dutton, and Mission Specialists are Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) depart for their 13 day journey to the International Space Station (the 33rd mission to the Station).

I arrived at the Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHF) at 2:15 AM. Grabbed my lawn chair, cameras, snacks bag, and water bottle and entered the viewing area (outside AHF) with my ticket. Then I settled down in my chair on the SE corner of AHF building with the launchpad barely visible in the darkness. Soon former astronaut Bob Springer (STS-29 Discovery and STS-38 Atlantis) came out and spoke about his experience as an astronaut. Light wind blew and it was brisk and cold leading to dissipation of clouds in the sky, slowly around 3:30 AM the clouds were all gone, half moon was visible in the SW sky. NASA person drew tickets for viewing the launch from the balcony. I bought some snacks and settled firmly in my chair. Bob Springer came back again and spoke for half an hour.

Then around 6:00 AM the outdoor flood lights were reduced to a minimum in order for us to spot the International Space Station fly past Cape Canaveral around 6:15 AM. Then we spotted the ISS fly past from the NW to SE. As soon this excitement was over, it was time for the launch of the space shuttle itself. Just around this time they had announced there was problem (T-20 minutes) in communications. But soon the problem was solved and we went into T-12 minutes.

Then at the precise time (we were all counting 5,4,3,2,1,0) the shuttle's rockets fired and the 5
million pound shuttle was propelled by 7 million pound thrust. Since the day was dawning at that time we could see the bright orange glow of the rockets. The shuttle itself was visible slightly and the great plume of smoke was coming down fast.

Within a minute or so later we were able to hear the loud sound and the vibrations of the launch (we were about 7 miles out from the launch site).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Visit Orlando Hindu Temple

Visit Hindu Temple of Central Florida
1994 Lake Drive
Casselberry, FL 32707
Sunday, April 04, 2010

I visited the Hindu Society of Central Florida's Hindu Temple of Orlando at Casselberry, Florida on Lake Drive. While driving past the intersection of I-4 and Semoran Boulevard East (also known as State Road 436; SR 436) toward University of Central Florida, I realized I was very close to the Hindu Temple of Central Florida (Orlando). I quickly called the Temple from side of the road and was able to reach there quickly (took a left at US 17/92 North going toward Sanford; then took a right at Seminola Boulevard; Seminola Boulevard becomes Lake Drive and the temple is on the right hand side at 1994 Lake Drive). While driving on Seminola Drive you will see Lake Drive by the side of the Circle-K, you can take this diversion or keep driving on Seminola Boulevard. If you took the diversion at Lake Drive you will eventually join the larger Lake Drive later (two way divided high-way).