Discovery Landing Pics


OK, America. Where were you and your cameras Tuesday morning?? We wanted to post pictures from anyone who captured a view of space shuttle Discovery during its cross-country swoop towards landing. We did get one description from Spokane, Washington, and the few pictures we received — while wonderful — were taken from Kennedy Space Center. This image is from Jen Scheer (a.k.a @flyingjenny), shuttle technician at KSC, who regularly takes images from the space center, including a daily sunrise — check out her Flickr page, the images are wonderful! See more pictures, below, but here’s the description of Discovery’s pass over Spokane from UT reader Derek Buckley:

“Nearly straight overhead, still with an orange glow to it but no streak. Was scanning the northern horizon and then saw it about 75 degrees above the western horizon, slightly to the north. It was moving FAST, and we probably saw it until it was about 60 degrees above the eastern horizon. Probably around 20 seconds from acquisition until it got lost in the pre-dawn light.”

See what you all missed??!! Derek said he tried to take a video but it didn’t turn out.

Addendum: It was brought to my attention that has an incredible movie taken by Dirk Ewers in Germany of Discovery heading towards landing that shows a “flare” as the sunlight suddenly hits the shuttle. Take a look!

Plus, Miles O’Brien wins the award for having all the latest tech at his disposals, as he watches the shuttle landing on his iPhone while in an airplane. And obviously he has another recording device with him, as well. It’s a hoot, watch it.

Discovery on course for landing on April 20, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters ( for Universe Today

Above is Universe Today photographer Alan Walter’s shot of Discovery on approach. And yes, that is a bird under the shuttle, but Alan says it is somewhat of an optical illusion, though. The bird is about a hundred yards away and the shuttle was still about three miles away.

You can also see a mashup of Discovery images from Tomas Vorobjov over at the SciBuff website.

Here’s one more from Jen:

Almost There -- Discovery's landing on April 20,2010. Credit: Jen Scheer

And here’s NASA photographer Bill Ingall’s nice shot of the landing:

Discovery's landing on April 20, 2010. Credit: NASA/ Bill Ingalls

2 Replies to “Discovery Landing Pics”

  1. I live on the west side of Minneapolis. I had heard that the Shuttle would be passing very near Minneapolis on the second day landing attempt. I was on the way to work about 8AM Central Time. I noticed a very long and unusual looking contrail to the east maybe at about 40-45 degree elevation and decreasing in altitude slowly as the object moved to the southeast. I could not make out what was causing it but did wonder at the time if I was seeing the Shuttle coming in. I was hoping maybe someone took some video that looked like what I saw so I could confirm it from the time and the picture.

  2. The idea that the shuttle can slow from 17,000 mph down to landing speed is just impressive to me. Because the reentry path occurs over several thousand miles and the start-to-finish is perfect timing and can be pulled off consistently every time. And it’s unpowered.

    Scientific models are all approximations but the models used in calculating reentry and landing and are good enough to pull off such a feat.

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