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Susan Poulton

Digital Media VP for National Geographic Society. Future astronaut, traveler, coffee addict. Loves to talk...try and keep up.

Space Shuttle Launch Coverage: Dawn Breaks Over Discovery

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit Fog drifted across the press site as photographers gathered this morning for the routine RSS (Rotating Service Structure) rollback, revealing space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad, ready and waiting for her 6:21am ET lift of early Monday morning. RSS rollback occurred precisely on time at 9:30am ET and…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Launch!

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit The space shuttle Endeavour successfully launched tonight at 4:14am ET after a last minute scare that the weather was not going to cooperate at the back up landing sites in Europe. They cleared up long enough for the shuttle to get off the ground and it was a spectacular…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Weathering the Waiting Game

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit If there’s one person in the press center who often gets the most attention it’s the representative from the 45th Weather Squadron. The group, including Kathy Winters, the Shuttle Launch Weather Officer, is responsible for monitoring all the local weather here and at the back up landing sites and…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Scrub…And A Wonderful Experience

By Susan Poultonfor Breaking Orbit NASA has scrubbed the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour due to weather and will try again tomorrow at 4:14am ET. As I was dozing off in the press center waiting for the countdown, I heard my name announced over the loud speaker. All of a sudden, I found myself…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Crew Departure

One of the more special moments in the marathon of launch events is crew walkout. The astronauts get suited up, wave goodbye to staff members and family and head for the van. Outside of a handful of NASA administrators who ride along in the van, the members of the press and other invited guests have…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Tanking Begins

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit The press center is very quiet right now as most members of the media (and Kennedy Space Center staff) have gone home to get some rest before tonight’s excitement. Only those of us who were not able to get a hotel room thanks to the Super Bowl being played…

STS-130 Launch Coverage: Sunrise at the Launch Pad

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit It was a chilly morning at the launch pad, as the sun rose on Endeavour during the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS). When the shuttle is on the launch pad, it is covered by a gantry structure to protect it from the elements and allow for access…

Diary of a Shuttle Launch Enthusiast: STS-130 Launch Coverage

By Susan Poulton for Breaking Orbit We’re in the final stages of the countdown of both STS-130, the final night launch of the space shuttle, and possibly the U.S. manned space program–at least for quite some time. President Obama’s recent announcement regarding the approved 2011 budget for NASA effectively cancels the next phase of the…

Launch!

Image Credit: Susan Poulton Space Shuttle Endeavour successfully launched at 7:55pm EST tonight in a spectacular night launch. This is my second night launch, but it continues to be the most amazing sight I have ever seen. The entire night sky lights up while the roar of the launch washes through you. When the shuttle…

Launch Day From Kennedy Space Center

Update 7:35pm EST: —Image Credit: Susan Poulton Twenty minutes until launch, and the nearly full moon has made a spectacular appearance behind the shuttle launch pad. This is one of those unique experiences that will make for some breathtaking photos of this launch. I’m making the final adjustments on my camera and waiting for the…

Launch Morning

I’m on my way to Orlando, Florida for the launch of STS-126. If you’ve been wondering what “STS” stands for in shuttle flight names, it’s pretty simple—Space Transportation System. No fluff for those NASA folks! I’ve been asked many times why I try and attend every shuttle launch. Once you’ve seen one, haven’t you seen…

Launch Events and Good News

NASA has increased the chances for favorable weather to 70% on Friday, which is great news! It will make my 5am EST drive to the airport much less stressful. The first big event in the launch cycle is the movement of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) back from the launch pad at 11:30pm EST tonight.…

Go for Launch!

I’ve decided to take the leap and have booked a ticket for Friday. The weather reports are still at a 60% chance for launch, but are looking more promising than they were yesterday. I’ll fly down in the morning and will be at the press center by 11am EST, in time for the crew walk…

The Waiting Game

Now the real fun begins for planning to attend a shuttle launch, “to go or not to go.” I once calculated that in the seven shuttle launches I have seen, I have been to about 15 attempts. Weather, technical problems, weather, technical problems, weather—I’ve experienced the disappointment of all kinds of delays. It’s just part…

Countdown to Shuttle Launch

On the 225-foot level of Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-126 crew poses for a group photo. —Image courtesy NASA What an exciting week! This is Susan Poulton sitting in for Victoria Jaggard who is hopefully loving every minute of her trip to Egypt. I’m very excited to be…