This afternoon, at 5:07 pm, our flies launched aboard the Dragon capsule and made history. We made history as they reused the Dragon capsule for the first time. Spaceflightinsider.com put out a great article highlighting the details of the mission and video of the launch, if you wan to check it out.
On the ground, tension was high as we waited for our second launch attempt. Despite the promising weather, it would not be the first time a launch was aborted with seconds left on the clock. As countdown initiate, I grasped my camera and held my breath…
… It was the most amazing moment, watching my first launch in person. It took some time for the sound to hit us, but the intensity was magic. The rocket lifted much slower than I anticipated. For this I was grateful. It gave me the opportunity to both capture the moment with my camera and to take it in for myself. It was an awesome, emotional moment, knowing my project was making it’s way into orbit, to dock with the ISS 2 days later. The best part, for the first time in days, the team finally got a night off. Time to celebrate. But first, even more spectacular than the launch, we had prime viewing of the rocket landing, after it ejected the Dragon capsule.
First, it fell like a log out of the sky, then it lit up and two sonic booms nearly knocked us over before it abruptly turned upright and landed flawlessly. It happened fast, but nothing could have impressed me more. This is truly the beginning of something amazing!
Now we celebrate because tomorrow, we start packing up the lab and heading home. Thank you to our NASA Ames team for doing such a wonderful job getting our flies off of the ground. Now, I get to go prepare for their arrival and the excitement that will bring. Life is going to get crazy for a while. I can’t wait! Praying for a flawless mission and thousands of live flies to come back to us this July!