Monday, September 21, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 Landing Photos

Space Shuttle Discovery & crew's STS-128 mission was a successful mission which involved dropping off astronaut Nicole Stott at the International Space Station, as well as 7.5 tons of supplies.

The landing at the end of the mission, just like the launch at the beginning, faced a number of delays. Ultimately, the landing occurred at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

When a shuttle lands in California, it must be ferried back to Kennedy Space Center atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) - a modified Boeing 747. NASA's mate/demate devices lift the shuttle in the air, the 747 rolls under, and the shuttle is mounted to the 747. The SCA & shuttle travel to Kennedy Space Center, making several refueling stops on the way. After the safe arrival at KSC, another mate/demate device removes the shuttle from the SCA.

Normally the arrival path of the SCA & shuttle brings the pair on a photogenic pass along Cocoa Beach. Due to weather off of the coast of Cocoa Beach, the path was modified to be much more direct, swooping just South of Titusville and then curving directly to KSC's runway 33.

Despite the modified path, I was still able to get some shots from the pier at Jetty Park, just North of Cocoa Beach.

The distance of the shuttle, the roll of the SCA, and the intense visual heatwaves were all significant challenges in getting a clear image. Although the shots are not what I was hoping for, I am still thrilled to have had the opportunity to view what could possibly be the last SCA/Shuttle paired flight.



Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Landing at Kennedy Space Center by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Pair Approach to Kennedy Space Center shot from Jetty Park


More photos of Space Shuttle Discovery Mission STS-128 landing after the break! Click here! http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/09/space-shuttle-discovery-mission-sts-128.html





Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Landing at Kennedy Space Center by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Pair Approach to Kennedy Space Center shot from Jetty Park


Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Landing at Kennedy Space Center by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 SCA 747 Pair Approach to Kennedy Space Center shot from Jetty Park


The full set of images can be seen here: http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/STS-128-Landing-21SEP09/

Coverage of the launch of STS-128 can be seen here: http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/08/space-shuttle-discovery-mission-sts-128.html

Coverage of the launch of STS-127 can be seen here: http://blog.willhawkinsphotography.com/2009/07/space-shuttle-endeavour-mission-sts-127.html

Cheers!

1 comment:

pickascene said...

So. Shuttles land on Planes?? what is going on?