On May 25, 2022 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a rideshare mission called Transporter 5 which lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. What I found most interesting about this mission was there were 47 cremated human remains aboard. It is not the first time, but it is the 18th time that the company Celestis has launched remains into space.
Buses were to load at 12:45 p.m. and I wanted to make sure sure I was there first to be able to get on the bus and off first so to get a good position at LC-39 Observation Gantry which I believe paid off in a variety of ways. (pro trip: take sunscreen next time). The first being that the second person in line after me was a nice retired Air Force man who was very interesting. He told me all of the countries he had visited during his time with the Air Force and with his private company where he installed RF transmitters. Later just before buses loaded, I met a young woman who just got a job with the European Space Agency as a planner of some sort for the International Space Station and she will be working in Germany. She is from Italy, flew here for the launch that day and was headed off to see friends in California. She was beaming of excitement about her new jobs, as she should be and I was so excited for her new journey even though we were complete strangers.
The bus ride past the Vehicle Assembly Building (which by the way has the worlds tallest doors) never gets old and then we passed the press site. One day, I hope that is where I will be. One day! We arrived at the Observation Gantry and I rushed to the 4th floor to set up my gear. This is where I met a lady to my right who was just on an African Safari and she shared some of her photos with me but it was her excitement about her trip that was really shining through. To my left was a nice couple who just moved to the area and I learned they too like helicopter rides and rocket launches. The man told me he has FOUR degrees and I was blown away by his commitment to learn.His wife is retired and he is still having fun at his job and not ready to retire just yet. As were were chatting, there was an astronaut that showed up behind us but were were not exactly sure who he was and he was speaking another language. I later learned that it was the Astronaut of the Day at Kennedy Space Center, Marcos Pontes
About T-20 minutes or so we noticed the clock stopped and of course we were all hoping for the best and sure enough, the clock started back up again and the goosebumps were on my arms. Before I knew it, it was time for the launch to happen.
3,2,1 and ......LIFTOFF!!!!!!!!!!
I really enjoyed the launch experience but I think I enjoyed listening to the stories people shared with me the most this day. Everyone was there to have fun, nobody was pushy, rude or angry and it truly was one of my best days that I have had in a very long time. I highly recommend getting a ticket to the LC-39 Observation Gantry if you have the opportunity. It is now on my radar for future launches.