Thursday, February 24, 2011
Pic of the Day: Discovery Launches!
This is the shuttle Discovery right at main-engine ignition. Just moments before the flame front from that one engine, there was a cough of soot, something I'd never noticed before. Pretty neat, though.
It sucks not having high-speed internet, having to watch the launch on CNN. There's always YouTube for catching it after the fact, but nothing comes close to seeing it live.
It also sucks that this is Discovery's final flight.
It sucks even more that after the shuttles are done this year, we don't have a spaceship to replace them.
But it's utterly cool seeing those mains light up, seeing the entire shuttle stack leaning as they build up thrust. Then the solids ignite and everyone who remembers Challenger gets a lump in the throat, watching those boosters for telltale tails of flame, or thinking of Columbia we're looking for chunks of foam or ice. It's always a relief when the boosters separate safely and when the ship's wheels-down on the pavement again.