On April 29th, 2011, the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to blast off for the last time, delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station.
If you live in the UK you can watch the launch live on NASA TV and a number of other sites on the internet, but that’s not all you can do! You may be able to watch it fly over the UK with your very own eyes about 20 minutes later!
Yes! You can watch the Shuttle fly over the UK roughly 20 minutes after launch (launch time is currently set for 3:47 p.m. EDT – 8:47 p.m. UK Time) if the timing is right and skies are clear. It will be accompanied by its bright orange external fuel tank as it sails across the sky.
I was lucky to see and actually film this in August 2009 with the launch of STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery.
How to see it? Go outside roughly 15 – 20 minutes after launch and you could see two bright objects similar to what the ISS looks like when it passes over, moving at roughly the same speed. These bright objects in parallel to each other will follow a similar track in the sky to what the ISS does, but it will be the Shuttle Endeavour and its separated external fuel tank!
Hope for clear skies and that the launch isn’t delayed, as this may be our last chance ever of seeing a space shuttle fly over the UK just after launch.
Good luck to the crew of the shuttle and to everyone trying to spot it in the sky on Friday!