Editor's note: CNN senior producer Eric Marrapodi is attending his first shuttle launch. Atlantis is set to blast off Friday inÂ the finalÂ mission of America's 30-year space shuttle program. Here are his preparations for the big moment:
4:30 a.m.: Getting there is half the battle.
I'm a rookie. This is my first shuttle launch.
My iPhone alarm clock buzzes my wake-up call. I'm already anxious about traffic.
CNN Miami producer Rich Phillips put the fear of God in me early on when he told me it once took him five hours to travel 12 miles down here for a launch.
Brooke Baldwin and I are getting ready for morning live shots for "CNN Newsroom" so we made the call to get on the road early and stave off any traffic snafus.
5 a.m.: As we pull out of the parking lot of our beachfront hotel, there is a line of cars waiting to get on the beach for a prime viewing spot. This is not a good sign.