Shuttle Launch Sideshow

by Alan Rider

Space Shuttle Payload Specialist Roger Crouch

Me and Space Shuttle Payload Specialist Roger Crouch

It’s one of the fundamental principles behind XTRORD.com: When it comes to extraordinary experiences, we figure you’d rather hear about them from someone who’s been there and done that

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to score a ride into outer space (not yet, anyway) so I can’t tell you what it’s like.  But I found some folks who can on a recent visit to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. 

Besides some tasty grub (thankfully not the freeze-dried stuff they feed real astronauts), the hour-long Lunch With An Astronaut program serves up a light-hearted video presentation that should answer just about every question you ever had about life aboard NASA’s space shuttles and the International Space Station.  For instance, I now know how one answers the call of nature in zero gravity (if you’re equally curious, click here).

The best part, however, is the chance to meet a real-life astronaut and hear first-hand what it’s like to go from 0 to 17,500 miles-per-hour in about six minutes.  After lunch, take a ride on the Visitor Center’s Shuttle Launch Experience simulator and you’ll have a pretty good feel for what the crew of Discovery will go through when they finally lift off from Cape Canaveral later this month.


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