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SUCCESS : Take Your Dreams into Space!

It was a dream come true. My brother and I were in Orlando Florida to witness our first Space Shuttle Launch. The Discovery was scheduled to soar at 10:14 AM on a blue sky September day. I'd seen it go up so many times on television, but now I was only minutes away from seeing it launch with my own eyes - hearing it with my own ears.

If you've never gone to Orlando and witnessed a live launch, you ought to because it is spectacular and unforgettable - And it's the ultimate demonstration of the nature of success: Success Takes Off Like a Rocket.

Witnessing the Take Off:

Standing close to the Space Shuttle drives home one unforgettable point - the Shuttle is the height equivalent of a 15 story building - it weighs 4.5 million pounds - and NASA is endeavoring to lift it 200 miles off the ground. On TV the accomplishments looks so much smaller - so much easier.

Throngs of people are standing around with you to watch the Shuttle go. You can feel the anticipation tingling in your hands. Then the countdown begins through the small speakers of hundreds of portable radios all tuned to the NASA station. It's enough to get your heart beating out of your chest.

The tremendous feat starts with one very small human step. During pre-launch activities, a person pulls a manual lock pin from each of the shuttle's two side booster rockets - so that at T-minus five minutes, the shuttle's 'Safe and Arm Device' can be rotated to the 'Arm' position.

From this point on, the primary action is shared by two side booster rockets, three main engines, on board and command central computers, and eight bolts. The Shuttle is supported on the mobile launch pad with eight 28 inch bolts that detonate on ignition.

T-minus 10 seconds

T-minus 9 seconds

T-minus 8 seconds

T-minus 7 seconds

At T-minus 6.6 seconds the main engine start commands are issued by the on board computers and the three engines stagger start - all approximately within a quarter of a second of one another.

T-minus 5 seconds.

T-minus 4 seconds. The main engines have achieved 90-percent thrust within three seconds. They are ready to deliver 1.1 million pounds of thrust.

T-minus 3 seconds. Computers are initiating all the commands now and they must receive three simultaneous commands - Arm, Fire 2 and Fire 1 - in order for the pyrotechnics to begin.

The Arm command signals a capacitator to 40 volts. The Fire 2 command signals flames from the three main engines to fire through a thin barrier and down a flame tunnel that is 490 feet long and 40 feet high. The Fire 1 command is issued to arm the side boosters to deliver 6.2 million pounds of thrust.

T-minus 2 seconds.

T-minus 1 second.

T-minus Zero: The side booster rockets are ignited and the eight explosive bolts blow. When the bolts detonate the shuttle is free to move. And the bolts fall into a tray of sand.

The first thing you see is large billowing white steam clouds blasting away from the rocket because 300,000 gallons of water are being flooded in to deaden a reverberating sound wave that would shake the shuttle into fragments.

Through the steam, at the base of the skyscraper-like-rocket, you see the fire power - and it's brilliant red, white-hot-orange, and blinding yellow. Then the Space Shuttle begins to inch off the pad.

Your chest is thumped with an inaudible shock wave an instant before your ears are filled with a roaring thunderous sound.

And the shuttle inches, and inches, and claws its way upward - so slowly at first that you swear a full ascent would never be possible. Barely moving. Burning up massive amounts of fuel. Thousands upon millions of pounds of thrust lifting the shuttle hardly at all. .... But with ever increasing ease, the shuttle picks up and roars into the sky, headed into space attaining a speed of over 17,000 mph.

It is within the first two minutes off the Space Shuttle launch where the great success lesson is present. Fact: 85% of the shuttle's fuel is expended within the first 2 minutes just to get the 15 story super structure 1/12 of the way to its orbital altitude.

And that's exactly how success takes off: The first steps you take towards launching a successful career, project, or product are the hardest and will require an enormous expenditure of energy - a great big push. However, if you persist through the launch phase, which can seem almost futile for quite some time, guaranteed - everything gets easier and easier and your results get bigger and bigger.

Do the work it takes to get off the launch pad. Astronauts show us that the view is brilliant.

 

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