Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atlantis Rises: The Last Launch of the Space Shuttle

I lived in Orlando, Florida for a while in the early 2000's. I remember sitting on the east-facing porch of my second floor apartment and even though we were 50 miles west of Cape Canaveral we could watch the space shuttle launch. And for hours afterwards you could see the plume trail it left behind in the atmosphere. Occasionally we would make the hour drive out to the coast and watch it up close. What I remember most is standing across the water and literally feeling the wave of sound rolling across the water towards us, like a freight train. It was awesome in its magnitude and inspiration.

The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle program for the STS-135 mission. Unfortunately, I was not able to drive down to see it or sit on my porch like I used to and watch the shuttle go up and up as it curved out of our atmosphere. But, in the age of the Internet I could go online and watch it live as well as find any number of videos showing the launch. They don't quite get the awe-inspiring feeling across like seeing it live but they are still pretty good. Here are a couple that I found to be particularly good.

This is a video taken by David Gonzales, Kurt Johnson and Mike Deep from the Kennedy Space Center Press Site. They used multiple cameras along with a high definition stereo audio recording device to capture the sights and sounds of the launch. This is probably the closest you can get to with out actually being there.

This is a video of the launch from Atlantis' SRB camera. These are the cameras mounted on the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.

Story via UniverseToday
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