Discovery from the air

This week saw the final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission (STS-133) is an 11 day mission taking supplies to the International Space Station. The mission also has robonaut R2 - the first humanoid robot to go into space.

There were some nail-biting moments during the countdown when there was a "no-go" from the Range Safety Officer because there was a fault with their command computer. That, finally, became a "go" with about 2 seconds to spare in the planned hold. The launch went well and looked great via NASA's HD Ustream channel. The Ustream audience peaked somewhere over 44,000 viewers during launch (I must admit that I was too captivated by the launch to keep track and I noted that number some seconds after launch when it was already falling).

Today, Will Gater pointed out a YouTube clip showing the view of Discovery's launch as seen from a normal passenger flight from Miami. The video starts with Discovery breaking through the cloud deck. Unlike the usual views from the launch site where the Shuttle seems to end up heading downwards, this video really shows the increase in altitude well. It is a great video and from the audio track it sounds as though this was one of the luckiest delayed flights ever. Enjoy.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 26th Feb 2011 (12:41 GMT) | Permalink
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