I have no idea why the Shuttle launches are not a bigger deal than they are. I mean we are shooting goddamn rockets into goddamn space here. This is one of the coolest things that our country does. It’s like a giant firecracker with a minivan strapped on the top, only slightly more technologically involved. For those of you who missed it, here it is. The launch of STS-125, Space Shuttle Atlantis.
The first video is with the folks at the Kennedy Space Center going over the final checklist and the Flight manager wishing the crew “Good Luck and Godspeed.”
This one is the real deal, starting with the removal of the vent cap from the external fuel tank and the crew putting down their visors and starting the flow of oxygen. (Skip to 2:00 if you can’t wait) It really is something to see the three engines fire up and then the boosters kick in. If you’ve got external speakers, I recommend cranking them up for the full effect. Feel free to start chanting “USA! USA! USA!” as you see what good old fashioned American horsepower really looks like—take that China!