Videographers David Gonzales, Kurt Johnson and Mike Deep filmed the final launch of the Space Shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center Press Site. The team used multiple cameras along with a high definition stereo audio recording device to capture the sights and sounds as Atlantis thundered into orbit. The goal was to provide the closest launch experience for the viewer without actually being there.
A Space Shuttle launch is a spectacle that will never again be seen. The sequence begins with a tight shot of the pad in the final seconds of the count. As the 3 Space Shuttle Main Engines ignite they flash water from the sound suppression water system into steam, sending a plume billowing away. The entire stack rocks a couple of feet before settling back vertical. The Solid Rocket boosters ignite, launching out a second plume and lifting the 4.5 million pound stack off the ground. Spectators erupt into cheers and the shutters of thousands of press cameras click away.