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February 8, 2008

A CNN Cameraman's View of the Launch

Posted: 09:41 AM ET

Yes, I was shooting the event, but could step away from my camera and just gaze at the spectacle with direct eyes.

Loudspeakers let you know when ignition happens, and soon you see plumes of roiled smoke blasting out and boiling up. The Shuttle slips above the gantry and is soon dwarfed on top of a searing cone of fire, rising ever faster.

The rumble is accentuated by claps of hot gases, tickling the sound barrier. A column of acrid billows mark the insistent push to orbit, arching over East and faster.

Distant cheers allow you to crack a smile and say, "Ain't that something!?"

There goes lives, a million inventoried, polished parts, and a whole lotta choices. All pushing the edge of our sphere to rub music against another.

That's what I think when I watch Atlantis rise from the soggy shore to soar again.

- CNN Cameraman Jay Schexnyder

Filed under: NASA

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Richard   February 8th, 2008 2:59 pm ET

You are so lucky to have seen the launch with your own eyes. I really enjoyed reading your post – brings back good memories of watching the launch on TV yesterday.

One of the things that amazed me was that after only 10 minutes off the ground, it was already traveling at 4 miles a second. It's really inspiring.


Chris Ritchie   February 8th, 2008 4:13 pm ET

I had CNN on the tv and NASA TV on the computer. For a minute or two, NASA TV was 20 seconds behind CNN's broadcast but towards the end, CNN was behind NASA TV by 45.83 seconds. What would cause these delays if they are "Live"?   February 8th, 2008 5:04 pm ET

Rock on NASA! Its about time to add some cubic footage to the station!

ES   February 9th, 2008 8:30 am ET

you're a better writer than many of your coworkers. maybe a memoir of your travels in the future?

ann   February 9th, 2008 9:08 am ET

that is a wonderful article. Thank you.

When they lift off that's when we can swell our chests to near bursting with pride. I remember them all, from the first liftoff andI always say a prayer for all of those on board for their safe journey to and fro.

Jay Schexnyder   February 9th, 2008 10:15 pm ET

Chris, I'm not sure why there would be such a discrepency in "live" coverage between NASA and CNN.That is curious.I'll ask when I get back to work.( I got a day off ! )

ES, Thanks for your compliment.I just might start contributing more ; to give more views from behind the camera....

Richard, This was my second launch, in person.I followed my first (STS 120)intently tracking it through (my) viewfinder. This time I got to step away from my camera and see it directly (from 3 miles away). What an awesome sight and sound! The release of energy, the unstoppable boosters punching through the atmosphere; a grand culmination of effort and faith searing from sea-level to space.
Makes me wish I'd paid better attention in algebra....

Acerayl   February 10th, 2008 8:59 am ET

Wow, I could not have said it better than that. As a native to Florida, it was always a pleasure to go out to watch the launch with my dad. And those times when it happened during school, we would all gather outside to watch the launch. Even now as I am older and am in a working environment, there were quite a few of us who stepped out of the office to see the launch. Working in a resort, I was able to see the looks on the faces of those who were visiting from out of state, and even out of country. They were all amazed.
I sure hope this is not the last time you write about your experience watching a shuttle launch, and I am sure its not be the last I will watch with my co-workers and guest from around the world that blazing fireball lift up to the sky.

Richard   February 10th, 2008 1:55 pm ET

Jay, I agree with several other comments above that you should write on this blog again in the future. You have such a vivid way of describing things... it makes something that was already fascinating 100 times better! 🙂

Thanks for the response to my comment. You are a very lucky guy to do things like that and get paid for it.


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