Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2002 October 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Liftoff With the Space Shuttle
Credit & Copyright: Dan Maas (Maas Digital), Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation, Lockheed Martin, NASA

Explanation: What would it look like to see a Space Shuttle liftoff from just above the shuttle? Because the answer has value in assessing spacecraft performance, NASA attached a small RocketCam to the side of the External Tank on the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis earlier this month. The above five-frame movie, excerpted from a longer video sequence, shows in dramatic fashion what it looks like to ride into space while looking back at the Earth. In the final frame, taken about 15 minutes after liftoff, the shuttle can be seen separating from the External Tank and proceeding to orbit.

Tomorrow's picture: Mars up ...

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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