Here some pictures that I took of STS-131 landing at Kennedy Space Center yesterday.
It was taken from Space Park in Titusville, Florida. Space Park is directly across from the runway where the shuttle lands.
This shot was the best one out of about 30 images that I captured as the shuttle landed. Taken from seven miles away through my Vixen refractor and a 2x and a piggybacked 1.4x multiplier attached to my Nikon camera. By doing that it gave me a camera lens equivalent to 2520mm. Even with that power the shuttle was pretty small on the images.
Here’s a quick timeline of Tuesday morning:
6:45 am – Arrived at Space Park in the dark to make sure of a spot to set up my equipment for the 7:43am landing.
6:50 am- Found out that the landing at Kennedy was waved off, and a possible try at Edwards Air Force Base at 9:01am or a last chance at Kennedy at 9:08am.
7:15am – With dawn breaking over Kennedy Space Center first light reveled the whole area covered in sea fog.
8:00am – Camera equipment all set up but got word that Edwards Air Force Base landing was not to be because of high winds, and Kennedy was a go for a landing. The crowd at the park was increasing and the fog was decreasing.
8:30am. About 50 people in the park now and two manatees were visible off of the parks dock giving people a diverson for a few mnutes while we were waiting.
9:00am – Everybody was ready and checking their watches it seemed every few seconds. I took a few test frames to find the right exposure. Fog was just starting to dissapear and the Vehicle Assembly Building was visable.
9:04am – A LOUD double sonic boom was heard signaling the shuttle was getting near.
9:07am – Shuttle spotted high in the air (heard it was at about 15,000 feet) to the south heading into the wind. Lost sight of it in the clouds and fog almost immediately after.
9:08 – About 30 seconds before landing we spotted the shuttle coming out of the fog at about 200 feet and moving fast. I had about 3 seconds to find it in my camera and start shooting. I managed to get several shots off before it flew in front of the Vehicle Assemble Building. I kept shooting and managed to get the best shot I believe as it reappeared just past the building.
Within 3 seconds of it reappearing the shuttle went out of view for the last time in the tree line above the landing strip, and the crowd broke into cheers.
It happened all so fast I was not sure what I got until I checked the camera. Happily finding several great images of this once-in-a-lifetime event for me.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I will add several other posts in the next few days of more images and memories of this great experience.