During the early morning countdown for the launch of space shuttle Endeavour today, it was back and forth, yes and no, red and green, no and no-go. And all because of weather. As per standard procedure, an astronaut flies the Shuttle Training Aircraft to monitor weather conditions around the launchpad. Today it was especially important in helping make the decision if the weather was acceptable for launching the shuttle. Amazingly, photographer Romeo Durscher captured this beautiful shot as astronaut Chris Ferguson flew the STA right over launchpad 39A and shuttle Endeavour. Not only is the image gorgeous in its own right, but it also captures a pivotal moment in the launch countdown. The skies had just cleared of the low clouds that had been drifting in and out of the area all night, clearing the way for a spectacular night launch. This image and the memory of the fickle weather will stay with me always. New desktop! Get a larger version here.
Durscher is with the Solar Dynamics Observatory- Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager instrument team, and is looking forward to the upcoming launch of SDO on February 10th.