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Visitors Try to Watch Shuttle Launch from St. Augustine Lighthouse

5:43 PM, Jul 8, 2011   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- More than 100 miles from Kennedy Space Center and 165 feet up, people searched the sky Friday looking for space shuttle Atlantis.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse has always gotten visitors who wanted to watch shuttle launches from the top of the building.

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"I love lighthouses," explained Lloyd Robison, who was visiting from Anderson, S.C. "I wanted to come up here and I thought this would be the best day to do it. Hopefully, I can see the shuttle go off."

Robison was one of about 20 people who climbed the 219 stairs well in advance of the anticipated 11:26 a.m. lift off.

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St. Augustine native Ellen Marks brought her friend Steven Volker. 

"We're here for the weekend and we thought to climb the lighthouse because he's never been to St. Augustine," said Marks. "So, it would be a fun, historic thing to do with him and it would be cool to see the shuttle launch from up high."

The crowd counted down with lighthouse staff members who brought their radios up to the observation deck. 

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However, after reaching zero, no one was able to spot the shuttle through the clouds.

Elementary school student Briana Degyetr said she was disappointed, but still had fun.  Many of the visitors decided they would try to watch a replay of the launch later in the day.

"Being from St. Augustine I've seen most of them, you know, ever since I was in elementary school. So, it's kind of, you know, bittersweet, but it's also kind of neat because I guess, it's kind of part of history. We get to see the last one, so that's cool," said Marks. 

First Coast News

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