So. Getting to check it off the list - a Space Shuttle
launch. Awesome. Reserved seats? WIN! Attending NASA PR pinwheel beforehand, cool!
Well, I bought an airline ticket. That's the easy bit. JFK<->MCO (Orlando). Unfortunately, the 'low fare' option was $445...and the 'Refundable' option was $1250 for the cheapest one I could get. This, given NASA's record for 'on time departures' for the Space Shuttle, is Not Good(tm). Odds are that I'll end up eating at least one $100 change fee, maybe more. But what the hell.
Where to stay? Well, there aren't any hotel rooms available on the Cape or nearby, obviously (yes, I checked). So. Twitter traffic from attendees of prior #NASATweetup launch events indicate that they managed to get some group houses late in the game. That would be great, but I don't want to count on it. So, I've reserved a room at an Orlando airport hotel. That's 38 miles or so from KSC, which even with launch traffic should be doable.
That, of course, means car. Reserved.
Price tag for the trip, if I end up using those three items: over $1500 so far, not counting expenditures down there.
This is the goddamn Space Shuttle, people. Second-to-last launch EVAR. I steadfastly hope we'll keep sending humans into space, and hopefully beyond the ISS - but it's looking like even if we do, it won't be in the cool-as-shit-sidestack-reusable-orbiter. It's going to be Spam in a can, folks. Capsules and parachutes.
NOT NEARLY AS COOL.
Okay, maybe "safer" given current technology. Given how badly we screwed up the Shuttle program, maybe even cheaper. But damn it...
You can't use the word spaceship to describe a capsule.
You just can't.
So I want to be able to tell my nephews when they're old enough to care, "Yes, we used to have spaceships. I went to watch one launch." By then, hopefully, Orbiter OV-105 Endeavour will reside somewhere in a place of honor in a museum, where I will be able to take them, and to reach out and touch the spaceship I saw leave Earth.