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  • I went to the SpaceX CRS-10 launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center!

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    NASA invited me to experience the SpaceX CRS-10 launch from the press complex at the Kennedy Space Center. I said yes! I want to watch a rocket go into space! So I booked a room on the Space Coast with an ocean view - found a bar with live music - and got ready to have a BLAST!

    6AM on the day before launch, I went to the Astronaut Training Center, got my credential and began a marathon day of tours around the 200-square-mile space center, ending up at launch complex 39A, which is leased by Elon Musk's SpaceX. 39A is where the rocket is. I can’t wait to see it.

    But first I went to the NASA News Center to learn about the instruments and science experiments that the dragon capsule is bringing to the International Space Station, including this experiment:
    Don't worry - I listened to the presentation. It's totally OK that we shot the super virus MRSA into space, I promise.

    Then it was time to visit the VAB - the Vehicle Assembly Building. The building is massive. Like, death star massive. In fact George Lucas visited it for inspiration when he created the Death Star. At the VAB, NASA is completing the new Space Launch System, or SLS, which will be the most powerful rocket in the world, strong enough to launch a spacecraft destined for Mars, which NASA intends to do as early as next year. I asked retired NASA quality engineer Greg Hale why he loves rockets so much …

    I couldn't wait to smell it myself, and I was getting closer to launch complex 39A by the hour.

    But first I was taken to visit launch complex 39B, which is where NASA plans to fire up the SLS. The launch pad was empty so I could see where the fire actually shoots out of the rocket. Then I got to meet Regina Spellman, Senior Project Manager at the Launch Complex 39B…

    Seriously you can't even believe how excited everyone is at NASA, it's nuts! But I was excited too, because now it was finally time to visit launch complex 39A!

    I was taken past the spacex hangar that I've been ogling in pictures and got to watch the president of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, and director of Kennedy Space Center Robert Cabana give a press conference and the whole time I was just looking at that rocket, because there it was, right in front of me, and it was going to space. Tomorrow at 10AM. I was very excited.

    The day had already been very long, but it was still not over, because I was invited to come back at 1AM to look at the rocket at night, all lit up, and vertical, and so of course I said yes to that, too…so I killed a few hours off-site…


    and then went back to the space center to see the rocket, all lit up. And vertical, ready to blast into space. I was deliriously tired and wired on adrenaline and maybe a little bit of tequila. But mostly just excited. So I went back to the hotel, caught about 2 zzzs and before I knew it

    it was launch day. i returned to the press site, the closest place to the launch that humans are allowed to go, about 3 miles away. Everyone was so excited. It was finally here. The countdown was on…

    The launch was scrubbed with 13 seconds left on the clock. I wasn't so excited anymore. No one was. Everyone was so tired and bummed. The launch was pushed to the next day…

    So I went to see how the plants and vegetables are grown on the ISS. NASA’s working hard to learn how to do things like grow crops on Mars. And they gave me seeds from space. That cheered me up. And then I had a bonus night on the space coast, so you know…

    The next morning it was raining. Launch was supposed to happen in about an hour, and I was trapped on the press bus, thinking there's no way I'm gonna get to see that rocket go up. But then the skies magically cleared, SpaceX reported they were still a go for launch - with the caveat that the chance was still 50/50. That's what they say around NASA, because they all know that a launch can always get scrubbed down to the last second. But here I was again, at another countdown…




    And it wasn't even over. Because that rocket, was coming back down, to land, on the land, a few miles away from me…it was too cloudy to see…but a rocket landing is not about the view…it's about the sonic boom you hear and feel in your bones…

    So that was my first rocket launch. I can't wait for the next one. You should catch one, too. They're a real blast.

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  • The Most Killer Playlist Ever Play all

    Official playlist for the book, "I, Human," by Lori Harfenist

    ---- Notes about the songs, which characters play them, and why are in video descriptions.
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