Saturday, August 29, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Launch Photos

Every single shuttle launch is a incredible & unique experience worth witnessing.

STS-128 was the third launch I have viewed from the 'front row.' STS-126 and STS-127 are the only other ones that we've seen up close.

STS-126 was a night launch that we viewed from Titusville, about 12 miles from the launch site. With 126 being our first night launch, or launch of any type, we had no clue what to expect, as I mentioned in the previous photo blog - Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-127 Launch Photos - and the poor photos demonstrate that ;)

Shooting a night launch shares no similar settings or methods with a day launch...

For STS-128, I studied & experimented until I had a solid plan. I researched the great night launch photos that are out on the web, read other photographer's blogs, and reached out to one of the greatest shuttle photogs out there - Stan Jirman. Stan has some great advice (and photos) on his site, so be sure to check it out!

Stan is on vacation in Europe, but still took the time to share some tips which lead to a very successful nighttime long exposure photo. I could've done a bit better on the close shots, and I am certain that I will next time :)


To my amazement, the SRB separation, which takes place about 2 1/2 min after launch, 220,000 ft in altitude, and 35 miles downrange, is visible both day and night.

Here is the long exposure, a few launch photos, and some grainy SRB separation shots!

As always, usage of these registered, copyright protected images is prohibited unless licensed directly from Will Hawkins.


STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch Long Exposure by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Long Exposure (6 min 2 seconds)


STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Just before liftoff, the smoke blocked view of the shuttle!

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Liftoff!


More photos of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 launch after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/08/space-shuttle-discovery-mission-sts-128.html




STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: 90 degree roll complete!

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Discovery in a small patch of clouds

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Exiting clouds

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Discovery entering clouds again

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Through the clouds

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: The reflection off of the clouds is helping illuminate more of the shuttle, tank, and SRBs

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Close-up. Shockwaves from entering Max-Q visible at top of SRBs

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Must of this white smoke is from the explosion that separates the SRBs - Altitude: 220,000ft.

STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch by Will Hawkins
STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery Night Launch: Closeup of separation. Fire from SRBs is illuminating the orange fuel tank between the two rockets.


To view the full set of photos, go here:
http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/STS-128-28AUG09/


Feel free to share your comments and questions by clicking 'comment' below!

Enjoy!

2 comments:

kerri said...

Ok, so that time lapse shot is amazing! Without a doubt that is like something you would see in National Geographic. I also really like the one where the smoke is blocking the shuttle. The effect is very cool. Tight work!

ckdcarman said...

what day did it actaully take off? I was on a Carnival ship the 25th off the coast waiting. I couldn't see anything.