Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 Landing Photos

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129, which launched at 2:28pm on November 16th, 2009, landed at 9:44am on Friday, November 27th, 2009 after a successful mission.

Atlantis landed on runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility as planned on a cold but picture perfect morning.

Aerospace & nature photographer Alan Walters (http://www.awaltersphoto.com) invited me out to shoot the landing. I asked him where, on base, we had access... "Not on base." I asked him about which off-base road we'd be shooting from "Probably not on land."

We met up around 8am in Titusville and, with the help of a friend of his, launched a fishing boat into the water!

We spent about an hour, motoring into position and awaiting the landing.

Around 9:40am, Atlantis announced its arrival to the vicinity with two sonic booms. Another minute or so later, we spotter the orbiter finishing its 300 degree turn above KSC. Moments later, it was in photo range... then... touchdown!

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Landing by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Landing at Kennedy Space Center

More photos of the landing approach after the break!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 Launch Photos

Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-129 launched at 2:28pm on November 16th, 2009.

STS-129 focused on staging spare components outside the station. The 11-day flight included three spacewalks. The payload bay carried two large ExPRESS Logistics Carriers holding two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly, a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm, a spare trailing umbilical system for the Mobile Transporter, and a high-pressure gas tank. STS-129 was the first flight of an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier. The completion of this mission leaves five space shuttle flights remaining until the end of the program. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Once again, photographer & super-VIP Alan Walters (http://awaltersphoto.com/) lined up access to NASA's Banana Creek VIP launch viewing site! Alan was also able to secure a pass for my friend - super-talented photographer Zekeshem Parsons ( http://www.bluelanephoto.com). Shem used the opportunity to view the launch, rather than shoot it, though she did snap a few candids of me and Alan.

This is the first launch I've attended that has been "Go for launch" on the first attempt! What a treat!

Enough text... here are some photos!

The full set can be viewed here: http://images.willhawkinsphotography.com/STS-129-Launch-16NOV09/

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Launch by Will Hawkins
Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 Launch: Liftoff!

More photos after the break!