Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama family, Giffords and a record crowd expected at shuttle launch

CAPE CANAVERAL — This day may begin with the Brits, but it'll end in a most American way, with a shuttle launch attended by the first family and recovering U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

President Barack Obama and his family are expected to fly to Kennedy Space Center for today's Endeavour launch. The Arizona congresswoman arrived Wednesday and will watch her husband take off into space from a private location.

At 3:47 p.m., Endeavour is expected to thunder into the sky.

There's a 70 percent chance it will leave as planned, NASA officials said Thursday.

Giffords' husband, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, will lead the six-man shuttle crew to the International Space Station. During the 14-day mission, they'll deliver supplies, including the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, a particle detector that scientist hope will detect dark matter and antimatter.

Endeavour is the next-to-last launch before NASA's shuttle program winds down. The space shuttle Atlantis is expected to launch on June 28.

Though all the tickets for on-base viewing of Endeavour's launch were snatched up long ago, there are other popular viewing spots:

• In Titusville, along the Indian River on U.S. 1.

• The Beachline Expressway (State Road 528), especially along the Bennett Causeway.

• Off Highway A1A along the Atlantic Ocean in Cocoa Beach.

• Jetty Park at Port Canaveral.

Beware: Authorities say the expected crowds could rival those of the most-attended launches in history. Some officials estimate that between 500,000 to 750,000 will descend upon the Space Coast.

So there's always the other option:

At 3:47 p.m., look east.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Poignant presence, but out of view

Since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' arrival, her whereabouts have been kept secret. A staff member said in a Twitter update Thursday morning that Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt Jan. 8 at a political event in her Tucson, Ariz., hometown, was enjoying Florida and "all the space action." She will watch the launch in the general area of the presidential entourage, and her staff says there are no plans to release photos of her.

Obama family, Giffords and a record crowd expected at shuttle launch 04/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 29, 2011 10:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Eckerd Kids: Teens in group foster homes must be allowed to keep phones

    News

    TAMPA — For many teens still reeling from being taken into foster care, a cell phone is a lifeline, child advocates say.

    Eckerd Kids, the agency that runs child welfare in Tampa Bay, will in January require agencies that run group foster homes to allow children to use cell phones. Some group homes are concerned that children may use phones for unathorized contract with their parents or other adults or to post pictures of other foster children on social media
  2. Hillsborough Democrats call Confederate monument vote a continuation of white supremacy

    Blogs

    TAMPA — Two days after Hillsborough County commissioners decided not to touch a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Hillsborough County Democrats have decided to weigh in.

    On Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County Democrats decried a vote by the county commission not to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Tampa.
  3. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  4. Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes

    Editorials

    It was simple economics that forced HART, Hillsborough County's mass transit agency, to cut its bus routes. The agency will focus its resources on the more crowded urban core, limiting service in the suburbs in an effort to get more bang for the buck. These are the hard choices communities must make when they refuse to …

    Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is cutting bus routes from 41 to 34. Those in more rural areas will find it harder to catch a bus.
  5. Editorial: Senate bill sacrifices health care for tax cuts

    Editorials

    No wonder Senate Republicans drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean. This remains a massive tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the middle class and the elderly, and it would cost …

    No wonder Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, above, drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean.