Wednesday, March 18, 2009

STS-119 pics part 2

Sorry for the belated post of the last of these photos. I made the mistake of sitting down on the couch and was out like a light.

These three photos zoom in on the Shuttle as its Solid Rocket Boosters finish their burn and separate from the Shuttle orbiter and External Tank. It was amazing to me that this was even visible to the naked eye as it happened. The SRBs parachute back into the Atlantic and are retrieved by vessels pre-positioned to tow them back to land for refurbishing.

Pulling back, it was possible to see the path the Shuttle had taken in its early stage in flight. The higher altitude portions were still in sunshine, while the lower bit was already in the Earth's shadow of twilight. You can also see how the winds vary with altitude. Some altitudes are quite still and some are more windy, where the path remained intact versus where it had already begun to contort. If you look closely you can see a little light in the left portion of photo that is Shuttle's main engines as it continues its way to orbit.

Even long after the launch, the upper clouds of exhaust were illuminated by the sun. The colors were just bizarre.

So, yeah, that was my first-person Shuttle launch experience, minus the couple of hours it took sitting in traffic driving back to my friend's house. Waiting the couple hours after we arrived, I did a lot of reading in "Treasure Island" to pass the time. I went back and read in the very beginning of the book where Robert Louis Stevenson had put in a note that I found to be somewhat appropriate to the experience I was having. Agree or disagree, this is how my mind works:

To the Hesitating Purchaser

If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons
And Buccaneers and buried Gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of today:

-So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave;
So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie.

If something like this can't stir your blood then what could?

1 comment:

Scott said...

Fantastic photos, Ethan!