Many people think you have to travel to Florida to see a space shuttle launch, but last night the metro area got its own taste of shuttle history.
Stargazers led by the Howard County Astronomical League of Central Maryland traveled to Carrs Mill, a wooded area off Carrs Mill Road in Ellicott City, to watch history take off. At 6:11 p.m., the space shuttle Atlantis carried three of Baltimore's own: Thomas D. Jones, Robert L. Curbeam and Marsha S. Ivins.
League members have been fans of Howard County's night sky events for almost 20 years. "The launch is clearly visible from around here," said Herman Heyn, a league member.
ZoAnn Lepinsky, another member, has observed a previous launch from a Howard County site. "Seven minutes after the launch, you can see the shuttle going up the coast. Through binoculars you can see the fire for a few seconds after takeoff," Lepinsky said.
Area citizens watched eagerly as Atlantis took off into the night sky, taking a piece of Baltimore history with them.