Jonathan Sabin
Image taken:
Apr. 5, 2010
Ellenton, Florida, USA
I've seen some truly spectacular Space Shuttle launches since the Columbia first rocketed into space in 1981, but the launch of STS-131 was in a whole new category. Standing alone at the edge of a deserted cow pasture, I watched in awe as the craft first appeared over a line of trees about a quarter mile away... and as it ascended towards space, was transfixed by the sight of a towering back-lit column of exhaust. And THEN... about half a minute or so after the SRBs separated, a plume appeared around the craft itself, and the view changed into something that I had never witnessed before. A moving, nebulous "blob" that expanded and twisted as the Shuttle arched its way back toward the horizon as it continued into orbit.
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