The Space Shuttle Project

STS-133 space shuttle Discovery illuminated by Xenon lights on the launch pad

Discovery Xenon

High-powered Xenon lights illuminate space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad at LC-39A after rollback of the Rotating Service Structure, for STS-133′s first launch attempt in November of 2010.

STS-133 space shuttle Discovery and the ISS in orbit over the Toronto skyline

Overflight

The International Space Station, with a full complement of visiting vehicles from all participating nations including space shuttle Discovery, soars in orbit over Toronto at 7:02 P.M. This is a stacked set of eight images, the gaps in the trail are caused by the ~1 second delay between shutter actuations.

STS-133 space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad after RSS rollback

Reveal

Space shuttle Discovery, STS-133, aims purposefully skyward on the launch pad immediately after rollback of the Rotating Service Structure.


STS-133 final launch of space shuttle Discovery

Pillars of Fire

Riding twin pillars of fire, veteran space shuttle Discovery embarks on her final voyage to orbit from LC-39A. After this final mission, she’ll be processed and turned over to the Smithsonian for permanent display.

STS-133 space shuttle Discovery SSME ignition and stabilization sequence

SSME Stabilization

Space shuttle Discovery’s SSMEs (Space Shuttle Main Engines) stabilize after ignition in this sequence. From left to right, the rough orange flame stabilizes to form a smooth blue flow, displaying the characteristic “Mach diamonds”, formed by the supersonic flow of the engine’s exhaust.

STS-133 final launch of space shuttle Discovery

One More Time

Space shuttle Discovery, STS-133 lifts off from the launch pad for the final time. Within twenty seconds of missing her launch window and being forced to abort, she had a flawless ascent to orbit.


STS-133 final launch of space shuttle Discovery solid rocket booster staging progression

Staging Progression

Two minutes after launch, space shuttle Discovery’s twin Solid Rocket Boosters burn out and separate from the orbiter, to fall back to the Atlantic ocean for retrieval.

STS-133 final launch of space shuttle Discovery roll program

Roll Program

Space shuttle Discovery, STS-133, performs her roll program after clearing the tower at Launch Complex 39A.

STS-133 final launch of space shuttle Discovery

Branch

Consuming 20,000 pounds of propellants every second, space shuttle Discovery lights up the lagoons of the Kennedy Space Centre on the final flight of her career.


STS-133 launch of space shuttle Discovery

Litmus

Space shuttle Discovery, STS-133, launches on the final flight of her career from LC-39A.

STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

STS-132 Overload (audio)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] The thundering power of space shuttle Atlantis’ twin Solid Rocket Boosters overwhelms the microphone, as recorded from the top of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.

STS-132 RSS Rollback thumbnail

STS-132 RSS Rollback (timelapse)

The Rotating Service Structure rolls back from the launch pad, revealing space shuttle Atlantis over the course of 45 minutes on the eve of her ‘first final flight’ as STS-132.


STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis panorama from the roof of the VAB

STS-132 Launch Panorama

Space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132, blasts off from LC-39A on her ‘first final flight’. This is an extremely wide panorama, encompassing an expansive view of the Florida coastline as seen from the top of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building. Click image to view larger.

STS-132 space shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad after RSS rollback

STS-132 Rollback

Space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132, stands revealed on the launch pad after rollback of the Rotating Service Structure, the day before her ‘first final flight’. This is a small detail from a several hundred megapixel final composition.

STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

Ascent Trail

Trailing a long plume of exhaust gases, space shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) heads for orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre.


STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

Remote 1 Liftoff II

Space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132, soars into the clear Florida skies on her ‘first final flight’.

STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

Level Roll

Pulling level with the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building, space shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) has completed enough of her roll manouever to see directly between the External Tank and the orbiter itself.

STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

VAB Liftoff

Space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132, clears the tower as seen from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building.


STS-132 launch of space shuttle Atlantis

Remote 1 Liftoff

Space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132, soars into the clear Florida skies on her ‘first final flight’.