Shuttle and ISS
...and if you can catch a Shuttle launch (they only take place from
the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida), so much the better -- better act quickly, though:
there is only ONE shuttle flight left!
The photographs on this page are of the launch of the STS-109 Hubble
refurbishment mission, which took place just before dawn on March 1,
2002. SkyLights follower Neil Wagner was present, and took these
shots, using a digital camera, from Titusville (around 12 miles away).
The shots posted here are considerably more compressed than Neil's
originals, to save disk space and speed your downloading time.
Shuttle Orbiter climbs into the dawn sky.
SRB exhaust brilliantly lit by dawn's early light.
Solid Rocket Booster separation.
As of STS-112, there is a new way to watch shuttle flights. You can catch the view
from atop the External Tank using the
Here's another example, of the STS-114 launch.
ShuttleCam is another application of the onboard cameras manufactured by
The recent STS-114 flight also carried a rocketcam on the External Tank -- which spied a long strip of
ET insulation foam being shed a few seconds after SRB separation. (You can review this video online at
if you have a video subscription.)
A good place to keep track of shuttle missions is at NASA's Space Shuttle Web Site.
The large structures associated with the ISS construction missions make for good viewing. Check
the Heavens Above web site for predictions.
NASA also provides country-by-country predictions.
Their California city predictions
can be handy, too.
The shuttle orbiter can also be visible while it re-enters the
atmosphere, on its way to landing in Florida. Depending on the
orbital track, folks in central California, Nevada, and Arizona can
see the shuttle's glow and wake, especially if it takes place before
On the morning of February 1, 2003, 22-year-old shuttle orbiter
Columbia was on its way to a landing when Vic Panegasser took this 8
second exposure of its passing, from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Very shortly after Vic took this photo, Columbia broke up over Texas.
(This image is copyrighted 2003 by Vic Panegasser.)
Another very interesting tidbit: It is actually possible
to image Shuttle and a space station from the ground, without a military-sized
budget. For details and example images, check out
Apparently, the SkyShow website has been down for a little while.
You may wish to investigate the images and references at
SatObs.org's website, instead.
Hearing The Shuttle
BOOM! ... BOOM!
On Friday, June 22, 2007, at around 12:43 PM, I'm sitting at my keyboard, working away. Suddenly,
I hear a pair of low-frequency BOOMs. I remember that the Shuttle had been waved off
of at least one landing opportunity in Florida that morning. Given the sound, I'm fairly well
convinced that I've just heard a re-entering Shuttle.
I pay a quick visit to SpaceFlightNow.com,
and sure enough, the Shuttle is on its way to Edwards AFB. I quickly tune in NASA TV
in time to watch the shuttle making its turn on the HAC. I sent out a query to the
subscribers list, asking who else heard the Shuttle coming in.
Here are some responses.
No sonic booms in the San Fernando Valley, So Cal, however, we got to
see it fly over about 4 minutes prior to touch down. It appeared to
be in level flight heading approx 360 degrees.
San Fernando Valley, CA
I was out in the front yard, here in Hesperia, waiting for it and it did
not disappoint, good loud double boom you could feel in your lungs.
Yup. I'm at Mira Mesa Blvd and 805. There's construction next door, and
I though a truck hit the building or something.
San Diego, CA
YEP! I HAD HEARD THAT THE SPACE SHUTTLE WAS GOING TO LAND AROUND 12:53
P.M. AND WAS WATCHING ON A LIVE STREAM FROM A LOCAL TV CHANNEL WHILE AT
WORK. FUNNY, THOUGH, AS A LOT OF MY CO-WORKERS WERE NOT AWARE THAT THE
SPACE SHUTTLE WAS LANDING AT EDWARDS AFB AND THOUGHT IT WAS AN
EARTHQUAKE OR SOMETHING! I GOT A GOOD LAUGH FIRST AND THEN TOLD THEM IT
WAS THE SPACE SHUTTLE COMING IN TO LAND.
Yes we did! We heard it here in Lake Forest, CA (Orange County), at
the same time that we were watching the approach on TV on breaking
news on FOX Channel 11. It was so cool!!!
Dea (and son Matthew, age 14)
Lake Forest, CA
The twin booms were NOT heard in Thousand Oaks, although a lot of people
were outside listening.
Thousand Oaks, CA
Yes. I did hear it. I was having lunch at Montgomery Field, but I
didn't recognize what it was until I got back to work and read your
email. Good call!
San Diego, CA
We did - in Riverside. I ran to the TV with the kids and watched the
Bummer! Nope, nothing here in Glendale.
Of course we did! But then again we got a head's up from the news on the
It shook the roof!
Diamond Bar, CA
Even though we are closer to Edwards AFB, we didn't hear it in the L.A. area,
but then again the flight path was from the south, so I didn't think we'd hear
it. If they had missed that window, we would have heard it on the next attempt
as the path would have been from the west.
As for passes, got a good look at the ISS last night, thanks to
Another bright pass will come on Saturday (June 23) night.
Thanks for all your work on launch info,
A loyal fan.
Los Angeles, CA
This is Richard L in Calimesa, by crow's flight approximate 37
miles West of Palm Springs and approximately two miles south of Yucaipa and
roughly eight miles south from Redlands and just East of Interstate 10,
Latitude 33-59-47 and Longitude 117-02-29. The double sonic boom was not
only heard but I felt the percussion from it, and it really shook my up
dog's. It wasn't as bad as the Landers quake though. Take care. Keep up
the good work! 73's
Shook the house!
Laguna Hills, CA
Living here in North Park, My first thought was that the neighbors were having a
heated domestic furniture re-arrangement event, but when the news break
mentioned sonic booms it did seem to correlate to the timing. Interesting was
that it sounded like two booms then a brief pause followed by a repeat.
boom boom pause boom boom
very rhythmic cadence, unlike random noises during a squabble.
San Diego, CA
Sat outside 5 mins prior to touchdown in LA...and...nothing. Saw them
both fly overhead Thurs night though. As I recall in the past, the
double boom was about 5 mins prior to touchdown
Long Beach, CA
Yep, that's weird that we didn't hear it, especially since I was
outside and expecting it. I know they don't cross the threshold of
Mach 1 until about 4 or 5 mins prior to landing, and I'm quite certain
that's when the pop pop occurs.
What I do know is, this entry approach came in right over San Diego
heading north to EAFB.
And, I couldn't see the Delta 2 two weeks ago either, though we were
outside next to LAX and looking in the exact direction. A bit too
bright outside, and too-clean burning kerosene engines.
BTW: 2 of my brothers work at Rocketdyne (now P& W Rocketdyne) which
builds the RS27 engines and more.
And, after my 20 years at Rockwell/Boeing building the shuttles in
Downey, I'm now at Northrop building the loud end of the Super Hornets
Keep up the good reports for all of us who care...
Los Angeles, CA
Nope, didn't hear it out in Indio/La Quinta. But I watched the
landing on TV and the NASA website. I have followed this mission very
closely, as new ISS resident Clay Anderson is a college friend of