I was invited to the latest Cape Canaveral rocket launch. With VIP passes and everything. But how would I survive three days, including a car trip, with no migraine?
Answer: very carefully
I took half an Excedrin before starting the road trip (which seemed to help), checked in to get my badge, and proceeded to tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in the heat of the day. Dumbass.
It was amazing and educational. And very humbling.
I stood near machinery that had traveled to outer space and back. I really wanted to read more of the plaques at each exhibit and interact with the displays. Alas, the migraine decided otherwise. I popped an Imitrex, ate some overpriced park food (yuck), and skipped some of the exhibits, especially the 3D IMAX movies.
I did watch the movie about the creation of the space shuttle. By the end, I was ready to sign up and travel to space, migraine and all.
[Obligatory "we can put a man on the moon but we can't cure migraines, wtf?"]
That night was dinner with genuine Rocket Scientists. How fucking cool is that?? They were pretty much as expected, except for the human component of being away from their families for a few weeks at a time and missing home. I learned there is a quiet (but fierce) competition between the different rocket companies, now that NASA has opened it up to several. At times, they even work together on the same mission.
I heard the 'where were you when the SpaceX rocket exploded' stories. They were semi-nearby and assumed the boom and shake was an infamous Florida thunderstorm, until they learned otherwise. It didn't seem to dampen their optimistic enthusiasm for success with tomorrow's mission.