When I was 10 years old, I wrote a letter to NASA expressing my desire to become one of their astronauts in the future. I asked for advice on what to do in school so I can be in space one day. My dad helped me find the address and we sent it. A couple of weeks later, I got a huge envelope filled with mission photos, a shuttle cutout model, a bunch of brochures with the different career path you could choose, among other things. You can imagine how my 10-year-old-self was feeling! NASA took the time to wrote back and sent me all these cool stuff and info. And it made me a very popular girl on the next Show-And-Tell!

A lot had happened since then and, even though I didn’t become an astronaut, the Space Program has always had a big chunk of my heart. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when my friend Carlos Rupert called me to ask if I could make it to the Endeavor fly-out for the last time (Side note: He is a great fan of the Space Program too and was able to witness and capture some of the shuttle’s liftoff. Visit his website to enjoy some of the photos!). He had bought a ticket but couldn’t make it. And there is where the adventure begins. I got a shift at Disney World that night and was going to be out around 1 am. The fly-out was at 7 am, at Kennedy Space Center, an hour from I was staying. To add, I have to pick up the ticket on my way to the KSC at my friend’s house. I was exhausted just to think about it. Right then, the 10-year-old took over. I remember the emotion I felt when I received the letter, the joy of watching the Shutter lift offs on TV, and Now I have a camera to capture it.

I got off to work at 1 am, arrived at my cousin’s home at 1:30 am to drop off my stuff and change. Took a 30min nap, and got out at 3 am. Got to my friend house around 3:35 am and park the car at the Kennedy Space Center around 4:15 am. Upon arrival, there were about 10 people already in line at the door. It was very interesting seeing so diverse age group, all with one common passion. At 5:25 am, they opened the doors and off to Neverland, I mean, to the buses which would take us to the viewing area. About 6 am, we were on the first bus and right in the viewing area…now the wait. During that time, I set up the camera on the tripod and tried the telephoto (120-400mm) vs 18-150mm and had everything in place. And took some of these…

 Talked a little bit with my “neighbors” (a family of 4 from central Cali with two cute kids dressed up as commanders).  Mission Specialist 1 (STS-130), Katherine P. Hire, came to say hi. And I totally didn’t focus her…my head was basically deciding if I wanted to change the camera settings to get a great picture of her or spend the time actually meeting her…meeting her won, hence the crappy photo.

At 7:00 am we have heard the sweet words, “Fly Out is a go! Endeavor is being taxied to the runway”…

They “parked” it in the center and gave everybody a chance to take a bunch of photos.

I got teared-eye and shocked up a little. My 10-year-old was jumping and screaming inside…

The 747 went around the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center so the people there could see it and came back for the last close up…

After that, we were back on the bus and into the KSC Visitor Center. I went back to Becky’s House and crash for a couple hours before my shift. When I woke up, it all seemed like a dream…

Bye, bye Endeavor…hope yo enjoy your new home!

Happy Friday!