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1988-01b a10 woodbridge uk31 views
2009-05-11-12h12m39.jpg
2009-05-11-12h12m3970 viewsThis is a panoramic view of the Kennedy Space Center. At left is the Vehicle Assembly Building where the shuttle is mated to the solid rocket boosters and main fuel tank. The road at the front is where the transporter takes the shuttle out, and at the far right on the horizon is Pad 39A, where the Atlantis (STS-125) is about to lift off in a little over an hour.
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2009-05-11-13h34m2946 viewsWith about 25 minutes until launch, the shuttle sits on top of the pad, all the launch conditions are currently at a go condition.
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2009-05-11-14h02m29221 viewsBillowing clouds of exhaust boil from the bottom of Pad 39A as the shuttle main engines fire in preparation for liftoff.
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2009-05-11-14h02m3251 viewsThe Atlantis rises above the tower as STS-125 prepares to meet the Hubble for the final repairs of the telescope. At this point the noise level is pretty low, the sound of the vehicle has not yet reached our vantage point 3 miles away.
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2009-05-11-14h02m3456 viewsThe bright hot flames of the exhaust cause the camera to automatically compensate for their intensity. The actual brightness of the flames is like looking at a welding torch.
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2009-05-11-14h02m3852 viewsThe Atlantis begins to rotate to put its trajectory over the Atlantic. You can see the diamonds of the main engine exhaust underneath the Atlantis.
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2009-05-11-14h02m4245 viewsThe Atlantis has now almost completed its rotation as Pad 39A is completely obscured by the smoke of the launch.
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2009-05-11-14h03m0247 viewsThe sound of the engines overwhelms the spectators as the hot exhaust rushes from the solid rocket boosters with a crackle like a forest fire.
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2009-05-11-14h03m1448 viewsThe Atlantis is really moving out now, however, the engines are being throttled back a bit as the shuttle approaches the maximum compression of the atmosphere prior to going Mach.
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2009-05-11-14h04m0452 viewsThe engines are set to full throttle again as Atlantis breaks Mach, and now the vehicle really begins to move out. The tower of smoke leading back to the launch pad is tremendous.
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2009-05-11-14h04m3953 viewsThe solid rocket boosters have been jettisoned, and the Atlantis is heading for deep space in its mission. We've just witnessed a miracle of modern technology, even if it is 25 years old!
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