November 23, 2014

05.04.10- STS-131 Shuttle Discovery Launch!

STS-131: Too Cool for words!

STS-131: Too Cool for words!

 

   Incredible… The predawn launch of STS-131 space shuttle Discovery went off without a hitch early this morning; with a waning gibbous Moon, International Space Station pass, and lingering noctilucent clouds, the launch was a beautiful sight to behold. Of course, we were on launch vigil at Astroguyz HQ about 100 miles to the west. This is the second to last flight of Discovery and the fourth to last of the Space Shuttle program. Will Obama extend the mission of the three remaining orbiters when he talks in Florida later this month? It’s tough to say; although the orbiters are in fine shape, the company that makes the external drop tanks has ceased production some time ago. Renewal of the shuttle program at this point would still leave a time gap. Discovery is on an ISS assembly mission, and will reach the station with the Leonardo module, resupplies, and new science equipment. The shuttle crew of seven will bring the total current human population in space to 13, including 4 women, a first for manned spaceflight.

From our vantage point, the shuttle looked like a brilliant dawn comet as it climbed into the lightening sky. A lit pass of the International Space Station also gave us a sense of the orbital interplay needed for the shuttle to catch up! As predicted, several luminous noctilucent clouds were visible for up to an hour after launch. This display was almost text book in their brilliance…

But wait, there’s more. Discovery will be performing several good dawn passes of the U.S. as it moves in on the ISS for docking Wednesday… follow us on Twitter as the 13 day mission unfolds!

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  7. [...] Strange Objects on NASA’s STS-131 shuttle camera….. April 5th, 2010 | Author: Seraphin. I viewed the shuttle launch this morning at 6:21 am and once they released the booster rockets and switched camera angle so you see the rear… 05 04 10- STS-131 Shuttle Discovery Launch! : Astro Guyz [...]

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