FENNVILLE, Mich. -- Ryan Bale of Fennville was at the Space X launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center last week.
Bale is a senior at Fennville High School, who made the trip to Cape Canaveral with his mother. He says he first developed a passion for rockets and space four years ago during the launch of Atlas V.
“I saw a rocket launch in person for the first time in 2014 I think," said Bale. "It just so happened to work out that we got down there and they shuffled us on a bus and we went out and saw the launch."
It was his first time seeing a rocket shoot into space, but definitely not his last. Bale also saw Falcon 9 take off to the International Space Station two years ago, and of course Space X last week.
“It’s nothing like you’d see from the videos that they post or the videos they put online," he said. "The way the rocket looks and launches is a lot different than what you see online. The flame is a lot brighter and it almost looks metallic.”
His interest in rockets and space led him to start his own website in June 2016. It's called 'Space Flight News', and focuses on rocket and satellite launches, and other space missions. “And I grew an audience just by doing that and by sharing it and by putting myself out there for people to read about it and get more familiar with the outlet.”
It also helped him obtain a media pass for the Space X launch. Bale witnessed the launch with other media personnel from just three miles away -- closer than any other civilian in attendance.
Bale plans to study Aerospace Engineering this fall. He's been accepted at Western Michigan University, and is waiting to hear back from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.