June 24th, 2011
02:25 PM ET

How to watch a shuttle launch

Fourteen days and counting! Space shuttle Atlantis is set to launch in exactly two weeks. The crew has completed a countdown rehearsal at Kennedy Space Center. Technicians are carrying out pre-flight tests.

(AFP/Getty Images)

And around the world, hundreds of thousands of people are finalizing their plans to watch Atlantis liftoff. I am one of them.

News Stream had the good luck of covering Discovery's launch live back in February. It was awesome. I just couldn't miss the chance to see the last-ever shuttle blast away from Launch Pad 39A.

Up to a million other people feel the same way. Yes, that could be how many astro-nuts turn up for NASA's ultimate shuttle send-off. And I'm betting more than a couple will be first-timers like me.

So I turned to the experts for advice: CNN's John Zarrella and Miami bureau supervising producer Kim Segal.

John has seen roughly 75 launches. (To put that in perspective, Atlantis is STS-135.) Though maybe I should say he has attended that many. John points out that while covering a launch, "I never get to really see one…!!! I’m facing the camera with launch pad behind me. But I do cheat and take a peak."

Which leads into what I consider his most important words of wisdom, "I would add…enjoy the moment. Look at it.  Forget about taking a picture.  You can buy better pictures of shuttles than you can take!!!"

Kim kindly indulged me even further and answered every question I could think of. Here they are:


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Filed under: General • Space