Savouring the sight of a Space Shuttle launch

One of the things that’s always slightly frustrated me about watching Space Shuttle launches is how quickly it’s all over, once it’s started. We spend hour after hour glued to the feed from NASA TV, watching the build-up and countdown, while the Space Shuttle itself leaps off the pad in a matter of seconds. Before too long it’s a bright fleck of light in the sky, and the launch is over.

You’re probably thinking “it’s a massive rocket Will, that’s what happens!”, and yes, of course, I realise that. But, to me, it feels like there’s hardly any time to savour the incredible beauty of the event.

Imagine my happiness, then, when I found out about a spectacular YouTube video doing the rounds called ‘Ascent – commemorating Shuttle’. It’s 45 minutes of stunning slow-motion Space Shuttle launch footage, compiled by Matt Melis from NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Here it is embedded below.


Credit: Matt Melis/NASA/KSC Imaging Services

I learnt a lot from the great commentary by Melis and his colleague Kevin Burke. But, by far, the main thing I realised from watching the video, is exactly how much I’ll miss this amazing spacecraft when it’s not flying anymore.

Update 25.01.11: I’ve updated the YouTube video above, as I see NASA Television have uploaded a 720p HD version of the film. Be sure to click that option for the best quality image.

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