Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kennedy Shuttle Launch and Tweetup Pictures!


"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.

Doug Wheelock
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!

Sesame Street Elmo at STS-135
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!


Suzanne said...

Terrific photos. Thanks for letting us come along, especially on that great BBQ.

You got to meet Massimino and Crippen was there? Dang. Was John Young in attendance? He's my all-time favorite astronaut and the calmest cucumber on the planet!

Thesis Writing said...

Great post and some really useful tips there. I love resource lists like this. Have social bookmarked it in the hope that others can also benefit.

PillowNaut said...

@Suzanne, John Young might have to arm-wrestle James Lovell as Planet's Calmest Cucumber, but I see where you're comin' from, LOL!

I am not sure if John Young was there -- we saw tons of blue jumpsuits all over the press tents! He wasn't scheduled to come to ours, but that doesn't mean he wasn't around. I hope he was! I hope as many astronauts as possible from every program got to see the launch. We were all pretty amazed that it happened that day with weather probability at only 30%! :)