The last shuttle mission patch. Remember them all. They all took risks. And remember the 14 who never made it home. Good luck to all on STS-135 departing earth this afternoon.
STS-135 Mission Patch
A little piece of me will die when Atlantis touches down and completes the final mission of the shuttle program. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. God speed.
I had the pleasure of seeing my first ISS (International Space Station) pass during the summer. Basically you get to see the space station hurtling overhead with the sun reflecting off it’s huge solar panel wings. This makes it look like a star flying through the night sky. It is a fantastic sight which I have now seen plenty of times. The easiest way to see it is to follow Twisst on Twitter. This service allows you to tell them your location and they will send you a tweet to notify you of upcoming passes that you will be able to see. It’s free and works perfectly.
So when I was leaving work and realised that there was one coming up soon I was rather excited given that it was a very clear evening. However I soon realised I would be stuck in traffic and the chances of seeing it were slim. However, as the time approached I was nearing the outskirts of Holywood and decided to drive down to the shore for and try and capture it’s journey overhead using a long exposure shot on my camera. The results are below. Click for the full size versions. You can see the diagonal light trail of the ISS as it moved upwards from the horizon and passed over Belfast at about 6pm tonight.
Coming into view in the middle of the image – the faint diagonal light trail (Click for large version)
Much clearer now (Click for large version)
Getting clearly visible (Click for large version)
Heading off into the night (Click for large version)
By way of a comparison, here is how far the FlyBe arrival from Bristol travelled in 30 seconds!
(Click for large version)