One dark night my 8-year-old daughter and I were about 50 miles south of the Cape headed north to Daytona when we saw a shuttle launch rise up above the trees. Like many others on I-95 that night we pulled over to watch it ascend. The SRB flames were bright, bright orange and the three rocket engines were bright white.
After the boosters separated most vehicles that had stopped packed it in and continued their northbound journeys but the daughter and I stayed... watching those three bright little engines for what seemed like forever. After a long while they stopped being three distinct lights and melded into a single point of light that danced against the starlit darkness of that Florida night.
It was a very dark stretch of highway and a beautiful dark but starry night... and if you really concentrated, you could continue to see those three engines clumped together into one... getting smaller and smaller, almost totally lost amongst the many stars that night.
I'd thought I had lost sight of them amongst all the other white dots that night when all of a sudden, the white speck I was locked on to suddenly turned itself off. It was then I realized that i had actually just watched a shuttle launch from near its beginning all the way into orbit when it's main engines were cut off.
Of the three shuttle launches I witnessed live... this one was the best!
GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
2011 Kawasaki Versys
Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72