Thursday, February 07, 2008

STS-122 Shuttle Atlantis Launch

We went to Kennedy Space Center to see the launch of STS-122 Shuttle Atlantis. Since didn't have tickets for the unobstructed view of the launchpad, we went to the parking lot to view the launch and beat the crowd out of the parking lot. There weren't very many people in the parking lot, but those we saw made a tailgate party of it. Some folks lounged in camp chairs in shady areas. There was a guy laying on a beach towel on the pavement. We talked to some people who were sitting in and around a pick-up truck near our car. One of the guys was from Monroe, Michigan. We used to live near Monroe. There were also people on top of vans with cameras.

Shuttle Atlantis launch. The shuttle's booster rockets are visible at the top of the flame. They are two white cylinders. You can click on the photos for larger versions.

Shuttle Atlantis roll sequence.

Shuttle Atlantis roll close-up. The pinpoint of light at the end of the cloud is the shuttle.

The mission of STS-122 is to deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus Laboratory to the International Space Station. We walked through some lab modules in the International Space Station (ISS) exhibit. They're shaped like soup cans that are big enough for people to walk through. It is a big deal when one of these modules gets installed. It's like adding a new room to a house. Previous missions prepared hardware on the ISS to install the new module. European Space Agency astronaut LĂ©opold Eyharts flew to the ISS with the crew of STS-122. Flight Engineer Daniel Tani, who flew to the space station on the STS-120 mission, will be returning home with the STS-122 crew.

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