Well, it’s hard to believe that just over 24 hours ago, I stood on the bleachers in front of the countdown clock and watched Space Shuttle Endeavour rise from the launch pad and be enveloped by the clouds above.
Here are some photos from the weekend, because a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to describing the launch, I’m still feeling a bit speechless!
The day before launch, we went out to the launchpad and watched RSS Retraction. This was my favorite photo from the day. You can see the gantry retracting to reveal the orbiter in place. You can also see the beanie cap at the top of the external tank that helps with venting. Can you believe how many little parts there are to all of this? Just think, a lot of people had to work REALLY hard to design, test, and create ALL of this. Standing at the launchpad, I couldn’t help but think about the astronauts who launched and went to the moon from this very spot so many years ago!
You can —>WATCH<— a cool video of the retraction! Click and check it out!
The shuttle on launchpad 39A. We were there at 3am and watched the sunrise. See all the people ready with their cameras on tripods at the bottom? Those people arrived super early to get a spot. There were news and media EVERYWHERE!
My favorite launch photo is below, it was taken by Stefanie Gordon who happened to be on an airplane when Endeavour disappeared through the cloud cover, she was on the other side. It is amazing to see. On the ground, we could see a shadow cast on the clouds from the sun that created a dark line across the sky as Endeavour went higher and higher and the smoke created a more and more shadow. In the photo here, you can see that shadow across the clouds.
Whew! What a day! Just in case you’ve missed the launch, you can —> WATCH <—- it, too! I’ve made this poster for my classroom and hope to get a large print and have it signed by every student in my class this year. I like to think that 20 years from now, when new types of spacecraft are launching into space, and the shuttle is a part of history, I will look at the photos and know that we all experienced that.