Remarks: Atlantis" blasts off on her 32nd mission (since she will be the stand by rescue ship for the last official mission, an act of the President and/or Congress allowed NASA let her fly her for one last time in 2011 as STS-135). Here the water clouds and the SRB exhaust smoke have rapidly consumed the LC-39A complex and spread about .5 miles end to end in seconds. White clouds are water vapor, the brown stuff will kill you if the sound does not. At 3 miles the vibrations & noise are still very loud.
Remarks: Sitting in the commander's seat on Endeavour, this is the view of the functioning attitude directior indicator and other supporting systems. The spacecraft operators (the guys who teach the astros to fly) were extremely gracious and courteous to me by firing her up and loading a data package that made Endeavour mimic her last flight. As you can see the translational motion in all the axis,control surfaces,velocity and acceleration. A sight now preserved only in the history books.
Remarks: The last space shuttle ferry flight in progress. The space shuttle Endeavour sits on top of the shuttle carrier aircraft. This picture was taken looking straight up from ground next to the SCA. The orbiter appears as reptilian creature next to the smooth skin of the 747 SCA.
Remarks: The last space shuttle ferry flight preparation in progress. The space shuttle Endeavour is towed from her hanger to the Mate Demate Device (MDD). Here the rear attachment arms (in yellow) of the hoist on the MDD can be seen. The orbiter is passing the 747SCA that will take her to LAX.
Remarks: The last space shuttle ferry flight in progress. After mounting Endeavour on top of the SCA 905, the duo was pushed out of the Mate Demate Device (MDD) in the morning. For this last pushback, I made my way to the very end of the MDD device and stood as they silently passed by me. Here Endeavour is sliding by my work platform while 905 can be seen beneath her. It is a sight like no other and will never be repeated.
Remarks: The last space shuttle movement ever in progress at dawn. Atlantis on her 10 mile trek from the VAB to the KSC visitor center for her final display. It was rather odd to see the move handled by a local construction company as opposed to the regular NASA/USA orbiter crew. A sad day for me and the end of a 11 year career chasing shuttles.
Remarks: The end of my space shuttle chasing career! On the night of Nov.2nd, the Space Shuttle "Atlantis" sits outside her final resting place @ KSC while a fireworks show "celebrates" her retirement. This would be the final movement of a real space shuttle. After the show, she was pulled into her new building and the sealing of the wall behind her began. And then it was all over! The End.
Remarks: Crash landing onto Florida’s Turnpike averted a catastrophe — no vehicles were struck, and the crew were in "fair" condition — but resulted in a large rescue response and clean-up operation that closed the busy highway for hours and caused monumental traffic jams for South Florida motorists well into the evening rush hour. After engine failure on final for North Perry Airport , the pilot put her down on the Turnpike’s northbound lanes near Hollywood Boulevard about 1:30 p.m.
Remarks: "Two, one, zero and liftoff! The final liftoff of Atlantis -- on the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream." She clears the tower for the very last time and is handed over from KSC Launch Control to JSC Mission Control at this very moment. A very poignant and momentous occasion as the era of the Space Transport System comes to an end at 30 days from wheels stop of Atlantis.
Remarks: Space Shuttle 'Discovery" returns to Earth after wrapping up her 39th and final mission, a milestone marking the beginning of the end for NASA's winged space ships.
Commander Steven Lindsey took over manual control and guided the 204,000-pound Discovery through a speed reducing 250-degree left turn to line up on runway 15. The very loud twin sonic booms heralded the end of Discovery's long and distinguished space flight career.
Remarks: The view from the commander's seat on the Space Shuttle 'Discovery" showing off her "glass" cockpit. NASA pioneered the "glass cockpit" concept on their 737 flying lab prior to its' adoption by Boeing aircraft. Starting in 2000, the orbiters began receiving the new look.
Technically called the Multifunction Electronic Display Subsystem (MEDS), it has increased capabilities, decreased weight and power consumption, and replaced obsolete equipment on the flight deck of the Shuttle.
MEDS incorporates or replicates the functions of cockpit displays that include: General Purpose Computer display screens,Electromechanical flight instruments and tapes,Attitude Directional Indicator; Horizontal Situation Indicator; Airspeed Mach Indicator; Altimeter Vertical Velocity Indicator; Surface Position Indicator,Electromechanical subsystem status tapes and meters for – Orbital Maneuvering System, Main Propulsion System, Auxiliary Power Units, and Hydraulic Systems.
Remarks: Employees and the crew of STS-135 hold up a "We're Behind You, Atlantis!" banner to commemorate space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission and final flight for the Space Program. The banner has thousands of signatures and will accompany the orbiter all the way to the pad. Post launch,it will be preserved in the VAB and eventually join Atlantis in retirement at Kennedy Space Center. "Atlantis" is being rolled over from its processing hanger to the VAB so that it can be mated with the external tank and solid rocket boosters for STS-135- the final mission.
Remarks: Space shuttle "Atlantis" sits on Pad 39A shortly after arrival for the very last time. Technicians work fast to hook the hydrogen vent lines and close the External tank doors before an approaching powerful thunderstorm. The work was completed shortly before lightning hit with 0.5 miles from the pad. Also seen in the picture is the orbiter access arm that is used by the astronauts and support crew. The stack is located on top of the mobile launch platform and holes for the solid rocket booster exhausts to shoot through are clearly seen. This sight will soon be one for the history books after 30 years of shuttle ops.
Remarks: Space shuttle "Discovery" has just come to wheels stop after the STS-120 mission to the ISS and while the astros are still onboard throwing the cockpit switches to the off positions, the Self-Contained Atmospheric Protection Ensemble (SCAPE) vehicle has brought the safety team to clear the orbiter.A SCAPE-dressed crew moves to the rear of the orbiter using a high range flammability vapor detector to obtain vapor level readings and to test for possible explosive hazards and toxic gases. Two readings from three different locations are made to determine concentrations of hydrogen, monomethyl hydrazine, and hydrazine and ammonia. If they find that high levels of gases are present, and if wind conditions are calm, the Vapor Dispersal Unit -- the mobile wind machine -- moves into place and blows away the potentially dangerous gases.
Remarks: Space shuttle "Endeavour" on her death march to Orbiter Processing Facility #02 to be down processed at the end of the STS-134. This picture was taken as she was towed away after her final landing that occurred approx. 4 hours before. The time was needed to make her safe for the technicians to attend to her. In the OPF, the hypegols will be drained. The engines will be removed along with the reaction control pods. After 25 missions, "Endeavour" will also be "mummified" for eternity by having many other important systems removed hence you are seeing her final public moments as a fully functional spacecraft. It will be a museum artifact soon.