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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Atlantis 6 hours after landing

How often do you get to see a space shuttle up close just 6 hours after landing?  Well, after this view - never.  Photography from the KSC tour bus was difficult due to reflections from the bus windows.  They would not stop to let us out for a better view, but this wasn't bad.  This image was taken at 160mm focal length with an exposure of 1/800 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 400.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Atlantis rolling back to the OPF

Atlantis is being rolled back from the runway to the Orbital Processing facility for is post-flight processing. This image was taken about five and a half hours after touchdown as it approached the area around the OPF and VAB, fresh from its 13 day mission to the ISS.  This image was cropped from a 300mm shot taken at 1/500 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 400 while riding the tour bus heading out to the LC-39 gantry viewing site.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunrise after Atlantis final landing

The Sun rises about an hour after Atlantis landed at KSC after its final flight of STS-135, July 21, 2011.  The runway is approximately at center in this image taken from the Causeway bridge at the north end of Titusville.  The VAB is at right.  Also visible if you know where to look are both LC-39A and LC-39B; the Saturn V center, the Ares I launch tower (just left of the VAB) and several other Kennedy Space Center facilities. This image was taken with a 24mm lens with a setting of f/8 at 1/1000 seconds, ISO 400.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tricolored Heron

While at the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge I found this Tricolored Heron fishing in a small lake. On the way back out of the area, he had moved and was standing on this log, so I took this image. It took me a while to figure out what brand of bird he was - he didn't quite match the pictures found in a couple books, but I did take a photo of a "Birds of Pelican Island" display up at the viewing platform at the end of the trail we took which matches this specimen quite well. It was nice of him to pose for me....
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

White Ibis

While out walking a Florida Beach south of Melbourne today, we "chased" a group of White Ibis birds down the beach. I got close enough to get a good shot of this guy who looks at me a bit suspiciously. This image was taken with an Canon SD850 point & shoot.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hey, where did the Delta IV go?

LC-37B stands empty after the GPS IIF-2 was successfully in orbit after a spectacular launch on its Delta IV rocket.
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Delta IV launch plume

About 5 or 6 minutes after launch, the moonlit plume from the Delta IV GPS IIF-2 vehicle hangs over LC-37B at the Cape Canaveral AFS.
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Bright lights and Delta IVs

About an hour before launch, the skies are clearing over LC-37B at the Cape Canaveral SFS. The Delta IV rocket with the GPS IIF-2 payload on board is lit up by xenon lights around the pad, much as the Atlantis was just a week earlier as it prepared for launch.
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Delta IV GPS IIF-2 late in the countdown

The Delta IV with GPS IIF-2 satellite sits poised and ready for launch at Cape Canaveral AFS LC-37B. It's just about half an hour to launch.
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Delta IV GPS IIF-2 launch

Still in Florida and after two launch delays, the Delta IV GPS IIF-2 launch from pad 37B finally got off the pad. Launch was on time at 2:41 AM EDT on the morning of Saturday, July 16. This time exposure was taken with my 24mm lens at ISO 100, f/22 with a length of 100 seconds. It flew out of my field (should have used my 10mm fisheye, but then overhead power lines would have added some "character" to the image).
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Friday, July 15, 2011

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

On Sunday July 10, after we were told Liberty Star would not be going through the Canaveral Lock until later that night or the next day (incorrect info), we went over to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Museum which is right next to the SpaceX offices. They had the first flown Dragon spacecraft there. This view shows the scorch marks as well as one of the drogue chute cannisters with a strip of the heatshield that is torn away by the drogue chute lines. Of course, while we were here enjoying our look at the Dragon, Liberty Star and the right SRB were going through the Locks, unbeknownst to us at the time....
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Liberty Star, SRB & the VAB

We had "fun" chasing Liberty Star and the SRB it carried through Port Canaveral. We spent more than 2 hours at Canaveral Lock waiting for it before we were told that it would not come through on Sunday afterall, so we went to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Museum to see the Dragon Spacecraft only to find out after our visit to the museum that it in fact was "in the lock now!" So we missed the lock passage and dashed around to A1A where I got this picture of it in the distance with the VAB in the background.
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

VAB the night before STS-135 launch

The VAB stands silently by while Atlantis hogs all the attention the night before the launch of STS-135 and the final shuttle flight. This immense building is where two generations of NASA spacecraft, the Apollo-Saturn rockets and Space Shuttles have been assembled before being transported out to Launch Complex 39 and sent off on their missions. It stands empty now with no manned launches from Kennedy Space Center in the near future. The tall tower at left is a relic of the recently canceled Constellation program and was built to launch the Ares I rockets with Orion capsules on them at a cost of about $390 million. This image was taken with my 75-300mm lens at f/5.6, ISO 100 and 30 seconds.
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Friday, July 08, 2011

Go Atlants Go!

Atlantis climbs into the Florida sky as it makes the 135th and final launch of the Space Shuttle program on July 8, 2011. The boat in the foreground dragged its anchor and ended up right in line with our view from Space View Park in Titusville as the main engines and then SRBs lit to begin its flight. This image was taken with my 75-300mm lens at 300mm focal length, 1/400 seconds at f/8, ISO 100.
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STS-135, the night before

We watched the launch of Atlantis on the final shuttle flight of STS-135 on July 8. This was the view of the launch pad with low hanging clouds the night before launch as viewed from Space View Park in Titusville where we watched the launch. The bright xenon lights illuminate the shuttle and launch pad as well as the sky overhead. This exposure was with my 70-300mm lens at f/5.6, ISO 100, 30 seconds.
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