I’ve mentioned several times here already, I spent the last week at Microsoft’s TechEd

2007 conference. It was great, but this is the story of finding my way home

from TechEd.

After a very long taxi ride to the airport because of rain on the road, the weather

cleared and I found myself finally at the Orlando Airport. It was 5:45pm, and

our flight was scheduled to take off at 7:50pm, hence boarding at 7:20pm. Well

our flight suffered a 20 minute delay of departure, and then didn’t start boarding

until 8:05pm which meant at 7:38pm I was in an airport terminal of mostly glass walls,

with CNN running the countdown on lots of monitors, as the Space Shuttle Atlantis

took off from Cape Canaveral just 60 miles away.

It was, and is, an ambition of mine to see the shuttle (or it’s replacement) take

off from a distance close enough to see the pad, but this was still a special moment

to stand around with about 150 other people just in that terminal and watch the orbiter

rise on the horizon.

To Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and Specialists Patrick Forrester,

Steven Swanson, Danny Olivas, James Reilly and Clayton Anderson as well as Specialist

Sunita Williams whom they will be collecting from the International Space Station,

god speed, good journeys and safe returns. To often we forget these heroes because

for some reason, to the American public, the mystique of space has worn-off.

But at least this tech geek is continually impressed by the heroism displayed by all

those in the Astronaut Corps.

(Photo Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)