Finally in Florida

We have just arrived at Daytona Beach which puts us about an hour north of the Kennedy Space Center. We will be heading down tomorrow morning for a tour and to visit the center. Hoping to also catch the new Star Trek exhibit that has opened at the Center as well.

The morning spent with Enterprise was incredible! We will be uploading pictures as soon as I get my Canon camera to agree with me. Thankfully Mel backed up my shaky hand and far less practiced eye for aesthetics.  The day at the center marked the beginning of our trip as well as the beginning of the shuttle program itself. Orbiter 101, Enterprise, served as the flagship of the fleet. While not having traveled into space itself, the prototype shuttle ushered in a new era in space flight.

We were hit by torrential rain storms on the way down to the State. Our newly decorated car fresh with window crayon “” was washed away well before it became of use. Will have to refresh the paint job tomorrow. Sure that the rental company won’t mind our handiwork. Thanks to Mel for a majority of the legible lettering.

Rain may be causing more of a problem than simply the erasure of arts and crafts, however. Latest from the BBC suggests a 60% chance of launch preventing weather. As Chris said when I mentioned this earlier tonight “there is still a 100% chance that we will be there in either case.” That much is certain. We have traveled over 2000KM already. We are committed. We keep our hopes up and pray for good weather on launch day!

-Matthew &8-)

Safely in the US

We successfully crossed the border yesterday and arrived safely in Chantilly Virginia despite a late car rental, being pulled over for speeding (state trooper was super friendly, let me off with a happy july 4th wish)

Were off to the smithsonian this morning.

And we’re off….almost

I’m sitting at U of T and we were supposed to have left about an hour ago. Unfortunately, Enterprise is now nearly two and a half hours late with our rental car!

Anyhow, besides the obvious logistical hurdle in not having transportation, everything else is in place and ready to go. I must admit that I am slightly overwhelmed with anxious anticipation. The vehicle being late is not helping. It will be difficult enough getting into Washington on July 4th.

At some point you can only plan so much, organize so much, call so many times. Then you have to let go, and see where the journey takes you. That will be the case for me once we head south of the border. There are only so many variables you can control on a trip like this, the rest is adventure.

Just got a call that the car is on its way. And so we’re off to chase Atlantis

-Matthew &8-)

T minus 7 days!

I’m sitting here in a small cottage in Wells, MA, on the last day of vacation before my life becomes crazy busy. Chasing Atlantis is really happening. In one week from today Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) will make it’s final voyage beyond Earth’s atmosphere. It is the last time any of the iconic shuttles will blast off, and it is the last opportunity that I will ever have to see a launch in person.

I remember growing up following the space program. I wanted to be an astronaut so bad that my friend Brian and I entered into a strict training regimen: playing with Space Lego, kicking each other in the shins to toughen ourselves up, and spinning dizzily in the playground to simulate the G-forces we would experience with takeoff and re-entry.

I was in grade 6 at Isabella Public School. Mr. Dudar was teaching us the basic laws of physics, and Roberta Bondar was about to become Canada’s first woman astronaut in Space. I wrote to the Canada Space Agency about my interest in science and my career goals in the Space Program. When I received that big brown envelop in the mail I had never been so excited. It was all a little boy could hope for. I read page after page, learning about Roberta Bondar and Marc Garneau, the shuttle program, and the future space station. I studied every picture and the artist renderings they sent me. I fell in love with science and wondered about universe. I posted everything on a bulletin board in my bedroom; where it would all remain for many years to come. That package and the message it contained still holds a special place in my heart. It came directly from the CSA and within those pages delivered with it the freedom to dream.

So, tomorrow, my wife Stephanie and I will drive 12 hours to return to Toronto, Ontario (Canada). I will have a quick 24 hour turn around, and hit the road with an amazing crew of people for what is certain to be one awesome adventure. Monday morning we launch at approximately 1030 EST to begin the first leg of our journey: visiting the prototype shuttle, Enterprise at the Smithsonian. I am really excited to see the craft that started it all, and with the name Enterprise this will be fulfilling one little boy’s dreams as we chase Atlantis.

– Paul

Go For Launch!

Latest from NASA

Atlantis and Crew Prepared for July 8 Liftoff

Wed, 29 Jun 2011 08:48:11 AM EDT

Launch pad technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are in the process of closing out space shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay in preparation for liftoff from Launch Pad 39A on July 8 at 11:26 a.m. EDT. The bay’s doors are expected to be closed for flight today.

This follows yesterday’s day-long Flight Readiness Review at which senior NASA and contractor managers confirmed that Atlantis is ready for this last shuttle flight to supply the International Space Station.

“This flight is incredibly important. The cargo that is coming up on this flight is really mandatory for space station,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, assistant administrator for space operations, following yesterday’s review.

In preparation for this final mission of the Space Shuttle Program, the STS-135 astronauts will undergo their L-10 physicals today at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Call from the Canadian Space Agency!

Hey Team,

Got a call back from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)  today!! They apologized for the delay in getting back to us. (I can imagine how busy they are.)

Canadian Astronauts Bob Thirsk, Julie Payette, and Chris Hadfield, will all be present in Florida during the launch. Being an independent film, we are not able to secure press passes to get into the Kennedy Space Center, where the Space Agency wanted to host the interviews. When I explained our predicament regarding media accreditation, the CSA suggested that we do the interview off-site!

They are working out the details now. I will keep everybody posted. In the meantime, our sincere appreciate to the Media Relations team at the Canadian Space Agency for their efforts to help us with this project!

You can all follow the Canadian Space Agency on twitter!/csa_asc  or find their website at

Matthew &8-)

New Interviews/New Members

Received a call today from Jim Kennedy. Jim is a former director of the Kennedy Space Center and has said that he’d be willing to sit down with us and talk space, Atlantis and NASA. His bio can be found at We are still hoping to hear back from a few other interview requests that we’ve put in. More to come.

Chasing Atlantis is now up to a team of 5 meaning that we are running two vehicles down instead of just the single car. We are an official convoy now! Really excited that Melanie has joined the team. An accomplished photographer, Mel will certainly bring a new lens (literally) to our project. You can check out her site at

-Matthew &8-)

Almost There….

X Ray scans for metal fatigue have checked out on Atlantis. It would appear that all is still go for the targeted July 8th Launch. The only thing we can do now is pray for good weather. Long term forecasts for that Friday will still be shaky at best. We’ll have to wait until we get closer to launch date. We depart for the US on July 4th.

Still have irons in the fire in terms of interviews. Haven’t heard back yet from the Canadian Space Agency nor Marc Garneau’s constituency office. However, today was a holiday in Quebec meaning that anything coming down the pipe on both those fronts would be delayed. Also sent e-mails out to InnerSPACE on the Space Channel as well as the Toronto Star to see if they would be interested in talking with us either before or after our trip (or both) to see Atlantis.

If you have any other recommendations for people of interest you’d think would be awesome to talk to for the doc, please send us a note!

In the meantime, keep checking back and hit up the Twitter feed for more updates!



Finalized the remaining logistical details with the team yesterday. Titusville is totally booked up in terms of accommodation as we expected it to be. We were trying to ride a fine line between waiting long enough to ensure that the date of the launch would remain fixed (besides weather delays) and waiting too late and not ensuring we have somewhere to stay. We’ve managed to secure a location in Palm Bay, about 50 minutes south of Titusville. While not directly in the city nor in Orlando, we are situated right on the I95 which should provide direct access to the Space View Park and prevent having to navigate traffic through Orlando assuming there will be a high volume of tourists than usual. I called the city of Titusville to see if we could throw up a tent overnight at the Space Park. They said no. I wonder how many tents will be there anyway. 😉

With every single hotel in Titusville booked, the city will be hosting an enormous contingent of people stoked to see the launch. We’re looking forward to joining with the community of launch-goers!

Still waiting to hear back from the Canadian Space Agency to see if we can’t hammer down a time to talk with the 3 or so Canadian Astronauts who will be at the Kennedy Space Center. Would be a huge disappointment to have heard from them the first time in terms of an invitation only not to receive a reply for confirmation. I’m keeping my hopes up.

Just realized as I’m writing this that I still need to book my flight out of Florida back to Toronto. Been putting so much thought into getting to Florida, I keep forgetting about getting back FROM Florida. The rest of the team will probably be staying south of the border for a few days in the beautiful State. I can’t make the drive back. I’m in a wedding party 30 hours after the wedding back in Canada!


Team Meet Tonight

STS 135 Astronauts are now doing countdown rehearsals at the Kennedy Space Center. Thus far, inspections on the shuttle are not showing any need for launch delay based on technical failure, structural damage etc. (check out the RSS feed below)

As the astronauts train, we are continuing our planning for the trip. It will be a busy few days and we need to ensure that we can fit everything in that we wanted to do specifically between the Smithsonian, the Space Walk of Fame and the Kennedy Space Center as well as some potential interviews.

Our first full team meeting is tonight. I’m excited to finalize the details of the trip. I also hear that there will be nachos!

-Matthew &8-)