I am still shaking and still awestruck! I just witnessed my first rocket launch and my first space shuttle launch which also happens to be the last night launch for the space shuttle program. It was absolutely the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed. When the SRB’s lit, night literally turned into day. The shuttle moved silently upward until the sound wave reached — and hit me — a couple of seconds later. I could feel the power of the launch from 3 miles away. The crackling and popping was amazingly loud, and the noise endured a very long time. So, so, so absolutely incredible! I wish I could better relate the awesomeness of seeing a shuttle launch! All I can say is that seeing the launch in person is nothing like watching it on TV or on your computer screen. But, I’ve embedded the video below, since I have run out or superlatives.
I was going to try and take a couple of pictures, but I ended up instead taking NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s advice to just suck it up and enjoy the experience of the launch and not try to capture it on film — just let the professionals do that. (And yes, Charlie, I cried, too!) So the image above was taken by fellow journalist Rich Yaeger who graciously shared his image with Universe Today. Thanks Rich! Check out Rich’s blog.
Also, check out Robert Pearlman’s picturesque shot on CollectSPACE
And here’s another great launch image from Alan Walters: