Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Endeavour blasts into night sky!

Space shuttle Endeavour safely blasted off from Kennedy Space Center this evening. This is an unusual and fascinating shot showing that Endeavour "blasts into night sky" as Drudge Report headlines it. That was not quite the full moon though, but a couple of nights after the full moon -- a waning gibbous moon.

Update:

As Christina indicated in her comment below, she shot the video of Endeavour lunch while watching the lunch with her family in their backyard. Here's the video:

1 comment:

Christina Liu said...

What an amazing and gorgeous photograph! It is truly awe-inspiring, especially when one realizes that there were actually 7 people riding the top of that trail of fire and flames.

We were fortunate to be able to watch this launch from our backyard. It was spectacular, just as all launches (especially night launches) are. On night launches, you can see the shuttle for much longer than during daytime launches. I shot video of this launch, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCJn_85Q5sE.

I also viewed this launch with a little bit of melancholy. Not only was the moon waning, but so is the Shuttle program--this was scheduled to be the last night launch of any Shuttle, as the entire Shuttle program is scheduled to be mothballed in 2010. In this, I truly hope Obama keeps his campaign promise (actually, he and McCain both promised) to extend the Shuttle program at least another 2 years; currently the new generation launch vehicle is not scheduled to be ready until 2015.

The five years with no launch vehicle from the United States would make the support of the International Space Station project dependent on Soyuz, with no back-up plan. It would also be a huge blow to the economy of Florida's Space Coast. It's so sad that the pursuit of scientific discovery has to be so dependent on politicians and politics, especially when the politicians have their own agendas and are generally not interested or even able to comprehend the magnitude of what they agree or disagree to fund.