Thursday, 22 January 2015

Lift off

When the Russians put the first satellite in space -Sputnik - my father was very excited because he knew it was the beginning of space exploration. . My grandfather was very excited because it was launched by the Russians, and he was a Communist!  I was excited because my father took me outside in the dark after bedtime, to see this tiny light floating across the sky. 

When the Russians put the first man in space, my grandfather's excitement knew no bounds. And some time after that he and I went somewhere (where??) and actually MET Yuri Gagarin. I remember staring at him and thinking how clever he must be. The first man in space and the first Russian I had ever met and here I was holding his hand!! And he looked quite normal. 

Move on twelve years and once again my father and I were in the dark late at night, this time indoors in front of the television, to watch Neil Armstrong step onto the moon. It was such an exciting time. And I was hooked. 

Move on another twenty something years and there I was shaking hands and chatting with the first British woman in space. In daylight this time!  

Then yesterday we went to the Kannedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. I sat in a Gemini capsule;  I sat in a replica of the capsule that housed the Apollo astronauts; I watched a film of space walks outside the International Space Station; and I was a mere three feet away from the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Then .... Oh my goodness. We were bussed to the VIP viewing space to sit and watch the launch of a Navy communications satellite using the second most powerful rocket there is. 

As they kept putting back the launch time and the tension mounted. I thought, "If this DOES go up, the whole crowd here will explode."  In the event, I was deaf and blind to everything but the smoke, the light (like daylight), and the NOISE. It was one of the most exciting things I have seen. And I wished my father could have been there to share the experience. It's all because of him that I cared!  

My favourite movie is 'Apollo 13'. 


  1. Way cool! Aren't you the lucky one! :) So where are the pictures.......???????