White Knight on the runway, angular and awkward and graceful all at once, like a bat. Starship sleek and rounded.
We had a scanner, and we managed to hear Mojave-tower tell LA-tower what frequency to listen to, so we heard the whole thing, more than we were supposed to, all the lost communications, all the worries when the tail crumpled and the "banging sounds", heard White Knight and SpaceShipOne assigned two different squawks, which amused me immensely - it's necessary, of course, but it hadn't occurred to me. Heard them count down to seperation, heard the chaser jets circle around SS1 and report on the damage, heard them planning the altered touchdown (5 knots faster, to help with manuverability), heard ss1's pilot mention the "damn noise" the high-altitude chaser makes (it was loud!).
White Knight and the chaser jet circling ever higher, like seagulls, into the wind, for an hour. Very white.
The double sonic boom, long before we could see them, and long m inutes squinting into the sun, while one person after another yelled, "There they are!", wrongly, and then the entire assembly bending like trees in the wind when they were spotted.
The knife edge of SS1's firing, straight up into the sun, so that all those who watched with their hands clutched around hopes too precious to name had a convenient excuse for their tears.
The four planes, flying in formation, circling for landing, low over the 30 runway, the collective gasp, a hug so hard it crack my ribs with SS1 landed. It's over, it's done, the end, 8 AM on the Longest Day, on a new day for all of us, for the waiting stars themselves. The end, and the beginning.