Same circumstances for me -- except I came away from the launch feeling completely terrified. In addition to the excitement that still welled up around shuttle launches back then, it was especially potent because there was a teacher on board. It's definitely one of those I-remember-exactly-where-I-was-when-it-happened moments.
It should be noted that the result would likely be very different in the US. There are cases that have held that using things like infrared scans or even the heightened senses of drug-sniffing dogs are an unreasonable violation of privacy without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The flying robots in the story similarly have such "heightened senses" and, thus, would probably violate US citizens' Constitutional rights.