Shuttle tragedies test resiliency of space coast Next door, at shuttles bar grill, cook and co-Owner joe kalata was churning out half-Pound endeavour, atlantis and discovery burgers for a lively lunchtime crowd. "We are back! "Announced the digital marquee outside the ace hardware store in nearby titusville. "3-2-1 Launch. " Florida's space coast has lived through decades of the glory and tragedy of the nation's space program, and tuesday, the eve of the scheduled resumption of space shuttle flights, was a good day, tinged with excitement and cautious optimism. Tourists flocked to the area--An estimated 200, 000, by some counts.Hotels were full.Restaurants were buzzing.Business was brisk in certain stores.Space walk hall of fame in titusville"Was crazy,"Overrun by 50 children brought in by bus from orlando, said founder charlie mars.And the green cloth-Draped marquee outside the titusville area chamber of commerce building said True Religion it all: "Green is for go.Godspeed discovery. " On feb.1, 2003, NASA's manned space program came to a halt when the shuttle Columbia broke up as it reentered Earth's atmosphere over Texas.It was the third major tragedy for these coastal communities, which counted among their friends and colleagues the bobbys in dark hollow astronauts of apollo 1, which incinerated on jan.27, 1967, and the crew of the shuttle Challenger, which blew up upon liftoff on Jan.28, 1986.Almost 2 1/2 years after the columbia disaster, the locals are ready for a resumption of shuttle flights. "We're excited and a little anxious at the same time,"Kalata said. "Everyone feels True Religion Jeans Canada we're ready to resume, but we're just a little nervous because of last time. " The months since the columbia disaster have been difficult not only emotionally but also economically for the brevard county communities that surround the kennedy space center--But not as tough as the post-Challenger period.The earlier hiatus was marked by several thousand layoffs by nasa and its contractors.Unemployed workers sold their houses cheap, residents said.Tourism officials had to devise new marketing slogans for the area. After columbia, businesses looked for new sources of revenue, such as space t-Shirts, which has developed a niche making t-Shirts for rotary clubs around the country in the past two years. "When the shuttle is not going and things are slow, this keeps us going,"Said babette wilkins, a friend of space t-Shirts owner brenda mulberry.Wilkins volunteers her time at the shop during the busy pre-Launch periods. "This is our bread and butter that keeps us going. " Lynda weatherman, president of the economic development commission of florida's space coast, said the kennedy space center, with its 14, 000 nasa and contractor employees, continues to serve as the area's major economic engine.In 2004, the space center generated $1.5 billion. But the county's economy is more diverse now than it was at the time challenger blew up, she said, because of a strong military presence, the growth in defense manufacturing, and the development of port canaveral as a cruise ship stop.A concerted marketing effort has also been aimed at tourists visiting nearby orlando and walt disney world by focusing on the space coast as a haven for visitors looking for unique bird and wildlife sanctuaries and pristine beaches on florida's east coast.