I spent some time this weekend looking over the photos I captured in 2011. While I didn’t travel as much as I have in previous years, one experience stood out: witnessing a space shuttle launch for the first time in my life. I saw the last launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour, mission STS-134. I actually ended up going to Florida on two separate occasions, as the first scheduled launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour was scrubbed.
But on the morning of May 16, 2011 everything was going according to plan. I woke up early, set up my tripod to get a coveted viewing spot, and waited. You can read my lengthy post of how the day unfolded on my photoblog, but the incredible moment we were all waiting for occurred shortly before 9AM that morning. And so, I captured this glorious scene as Endeavour lifted off:
Here is what I wrote about the experience the day of launch:
People were cheering so loudly. Now, for the first few seconds of lift-off, we relied on our visual senses to stimulate us: sound had not yet arrived. We were located three miles away from the launch site, and the first boom of the engines and the solid rocket boosters cracked about five seconds into the launch sequence. And what a phenomenal sound it was! There were these crackles, going off and on, like fireworks were exploding about five feet away from you. The sound literally made the hair on your arm and legs stand up. It was absolutely incredible!
Truly, a day I’ll never forget.
Here is my entire NASA-themed gallery for those of you curious to see what other photos I captured while at Kennedy Space Center. What’s your favorite photo memory from 2011?