"This isn't the beginning of the end,
it is the end of what was our BEGINNING."
~ Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator
Ah, finally... my Atlantis Launch Day(s) Photographs! I took about 400 photos on Liftoff day (probably over a thousand on the whole trip now) ... so narrowing it down to a manageable "Top 40" was something of a trick! But click here for the entire Picasa gallery, or any of the photographs featured below in today's post.
With Test Pilot & Astronaut Doug Wheelock
But then of course we also had to include the parties afterward, namely the second "Endless BBQ" run by the Space Tweep Society -- so called because when launches scrub, they just go on and on and on.... until an actual launch, and then it counts as the wrap party, LOL!
We were lucky not to have a scrub however, just a successful trip to the ISS in the first launch window -- and even now, many of us left in Florida are still rather wandering about in a daze, saying "Did all of that really just happen?" Maybe we're all dreaming! Sometimes it feels that way. It has been a saturating space overload!
Astronaut Mike Massimino, his daughter Gabby & Elmo!
It has been a whirlwind of social media, and a truly exciting experiment of how far and wide you can spread your enthusiasm and passion for space events with other like-minded people who all came together in cyberspace! It's quite an amazing phenomenon happening all around us.
Of course, there is the usual disclaimer that I am not a photographer by trade, so set your expectations accordingly. I just take snapshots to share, but Time Magazine, I am not. Although, Time did publish a great video about the event!
Launch Pad Countdown Clock
There were tons of folks there who brought real cameras, so I definitely recommend their photo collections if you want to see more professionally rendered creations of the entire event. Among the best I've seen thus far are those Shuttle shots taken by Jason Major of Lights In The Dark, as he got some both in the early morning darkness, and far more of the launch itself.
Another interesting collection is over on Javier Pedreira's photostream, who captured some interesting imagery of the "feel" of everything around us, and ironically, also caught Jason Major taking a photo of the plume!
Lastly, if you want to see the entire environment as if you are standing in it... check out the 360-degree panorama of KSC Launch Pad 39 Press Site Complex by Shareef Jackson! This view is truly amazing!