Chip and his Monarch Watch crew just returned from Florida where they watched their butterfly caterpillars take off into space.
I attended a quickly called Friends of Monarch Watch meeting last evening where we heard first hand about the experience. Of course, the three had guest passes and were able to view the launch from the closest anyone can get which is three miles.
Being able to see the astronauts close up as they loaded and observe the pre liftoff countdown is not open to the public, but the butterfly crew did say there are observation points available a little further away that are available for any of us to use.
2010 is the last year with limited number of lift offs left in the program. After hearing how exciting it was to watch, listen and even feel the liftoff, I am wondering if this should be the destination of a roadtrip next year.
Here is the official patch of this mission. If you look closely, are thirteen stars, one for each of the astronauts children. I was given a pin like this for helping with the project. I wear it with pride as we follow our Monarch project in space.