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'.