Launch of Endeavour Lights Up the Night

Article written: 14 Nov , 2008
Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

With a waning gibbous moon hanging over the launch pad, Space Shuttle Endeavour lit up the night sky with a spectacular and gorgeous liftoff, right on time at 7:55 EST. Endeavour is carrying a load of equipment for a “home improvement project” for the International Space Station. Included on board are a urine recycling system, a new toilet, a new galley and additional crew accommodations to enable an expanded ISS crew. Next year the station will be home to six astronauts instead of the current three, allowing scientific research to move to the forefront of ISS operations. Just before launch Commander Chris Ferguson radioed to Mission Control, “It’s our turn to take home improvement to a new level after 10 years of international space station construction,” Ferguson replied. “Endeavour’s ready to go.”

The launch was so spectacular that I’ll post more pictures of the launch as they become available. See below for a great ET separation image. And check out Spacewriter’s Ramblings for some screenshots she took of the events. And yes, we Twittered to each other!

Just a few minutes before scheduled launch, it looked like there might be a problem that could cause a launch scrub…

External tank is jettisoned.  Credit: NASA

External tank is jettisoned. Credit: NASA

The White Room crew forgot to latch the inner door on the Orbiter Access arm, but the mission managers concluded that it should not cause any problems, and that the mission would be safe to fly. The loose door was visible on NASA TV views as the Orbiter Access Arm was retracted. It just looked a little odd, but caused no problems for Endeavour.

More images:

Here’s one from Bill Ingalls of

From NASA:

Endeavour's launch Nov. 14.  Credit: NASA

Endeavour's launch Nov. 14. Credit: NASA

15 Responses

  1. ccpetersen says

    Yay twitter!

  2. Thomas says

    Go Endeavour! Congrats on the great launch!

  3. Andrew says

    Finally, the astronauts will have somewhere to use the bathroom! (that works on a regular basis). As usual, a beautiful launch. Definitely one of greatest spectacles on Earth to see.

  4. SteveF says

    FIOS had it on the HDNet chan. very cool in HD!!!

  5. CC, you’re a great Twitter pal!

  6. KG6YRA says

    A beauteous launch!

  7. The Occupant says

    Does anyone know where i can find a larger version of the last picture? It is absolutely gorgeous.

  8. Kevin Koski says

    awesome, another successful launch godspeed to the crew

  9. Occupant – That image was on NASA’s homepage for awhile, but now I can’t find it — they switched to a different one. Disco Dave Mosher has one a little bit bigger over at Discovery.

  10. The Occupant says

    Thank you Nancy Atkinson, it isn’t quite the Wallpaper size I was hoping for, but it is certainly spectacular.
    Thanks again.

  11. Sci-Fi Si says

    Nice one Nancy, that last picture is FAB!!

  12. Maxwell says

    If NASA releases these images in large formats, I wouldnt mind snagging this one in a higher rez.

    Not sure if thats plasma or just gas sloughing off the sides. But that glowing shroud effect that appeared for a second or two after separation was simply beautiful.

  13. maudyfish says

    Great going!!!!
    I can’t wait till all these shuttle flights become mundane…………. Like going to the nearest 7-11 for a coke. Then we are in space for good and the only way up is to outer space!!!!!

  14. Frank says

    More photos of the launch at Check out the hi-res, spherical panoramas of KSC & CCAFS while you’re there.

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