Orbiter Montage

by wjw on May 19, 2011

Exciting moments at the Cape, condensed.

We arrived predawn.  Yes, that is an alligator cruising along in the lower left.

The sun arrives.

Main engine start.  (Five seconds before liftoff)

A tower of brilliant flame, brighter than any camera can record.

The orbiter vanished into low cloud just as the sound reaches us across the water.  The sound is a massive rumble that you can feel in your viscera, something like what I imagine an earthquake must be like.  The sound continues long after the orbiter has vanished . . .

Leaving behind a vast cloud of mildly toxic smoke.

Thanks again to Col Mike and Renita Fincke for the opportunity to be thus stricken with complete awe.

Kathy May 20, 2011 at 2:35 am

Beautiful series of photos, sweetheart!

DensityDuck May 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I saw Atlantis launch at night, sometime in 2000 I think. What impressed me was not the sound–we were much too far away for the sound to be overwhelming–but the light. It was three in the morning, and when the SRBs lit up you could have read a book without straining your eyes.

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