Today I discovered another cool thing about living on the Southern California coast: Space Shuttle sonic booms!
Space Shuttle Endeavour was due to land at its usual location at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida this morning, but, due to bad weather, the Shuttle was re-routed to its backup landing area at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California's Mojave Desert.
With little notice, I tuned into CNN to see Endeavour descending from the sky. Then, at 1:20 p.m. local time, I heard a loud double boom! At that moment, the official NASA announcer being broadcast on CNN stated “two sonic booms signaling a landing at the California coast.” Apparently, Endeavour flew in from the Pacific Ocean, and created the sonic booms as it decelerated through the sound barrier at about the time it crossed over land, somewhere above my home.
I was very excited to witness this meeting of natural science and human technology in action today, and I know I'm not the only one.
(photo from NASA.gov)