I was on a flight from Portland to San Diego and enjoying a cup of coffee after my inflight service this morning at approximately 08:30am when our captain made the following announcement:
"Ladies and gentlemen, in approximately 3-4 minutes we will be passing just to the west of Edwards Air Force Base...it will be on our left hand side. We have been speaking with air traffic control and they have informed us that within just a few minutes after we have passed it, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will be passing just behind our aircraft and land at Edwards AFB. This is a once in a lifetime moment for most of us."
I couldn't believe it. I stared out the window through the morning haze over at the dry lake beds that comprise the landing strip at Edwards. I've seen it a hundred times. But knowing that the very Space Shuttle that I've been watching all week work 350 miles above the earth's surface on the Hubble Space Telescope is going to be passing directly behind the aircraft I was on was something I won't soon forget. What a job. What a life!