Atlantis' fiery final return home, as seen by the crew of the International Space Station
Atlantis' fiery final return home, as seen by the crew of the International Space Station

Space Flight, Space Shuttle, Space Station

Amazing Image: ISS Crew Captures Shuttle Atlantis’ Last Brilliant Trip Through the Atmosphere

21 Jul , 2011 by


Simply incredible. Atlantis on its way home taken by the Expedition 28 crew of the space station. Via the NASA_Johnson Twitpic page.

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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

9 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is awesome

  2. David Syzdek says:

    Way cool.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson says:

    If you catch a firefly
    and keep it in a jar
    You may find that
    you have lost
    A tiny star.

    If you let it go then,
    back into the night,
    You may see it
    once again
    Star bright.

    [Lilian Moore]

  4. Ints Kesans says:

    I am confused. Trajectory of Atlantis seems to be a bit off the ISS flight path. Shouldn’t it look more towards ISS?

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean with off?

      • Ints Kesans says:

        I mean, there is very short launch window, during which station’s flight path is directly over the launch pad. Within few degrees, I guess. Once cleared the tower, shuttle performs a roll maneuver. At that point, just about 20 seconds after launch, shuttle is already in the plane of orbit and it can’t be changed much. The only thing done from here is acceleration, so perigee of that particular orbit move out of center of Earth. In that very nice picture I see, that trajectory of Atlantis is not directly towards station. Why so?

    • Joseph Piatt says:

      IIRC, their trajectory is rather straight-line once they hit atmosphere, so they have to begin their approach already aligned with the runway.

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