It's now become a somewhat common event, one that for most Americans is signaled by nothing more than a brief blip on the news. But a space shuttle launch is still one of mankind's most complex and massive undertakings, a carefully-primed $1.3 billion explosion that turns years of planning and construction into a spectacle that lasts only a few moments.
To those who've witnessed it first-hand, it's the spectacle of a lifetime.
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