Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery - STS-128

Last week, I spent roughly three days doing reseach/planning, eight hours driving (split between two road trips) and stood around for another half dozen hours. All of that to make a single exposure that lasted for 167 seconds and had no chance for a do-over. The subject of all this effort was space shuttle Discovery as she and her crew launched from Kennedy Space Center for mission STS-128.

Here's the result:

Flight trail of space shuttle Discovery's launch for mission STS-128 todo

Completely worth the effort.

Of course, since the above image was made with a camera sitting on a tripod, I was also able to do some shooting with a telephoto lens for a more traditional liftoff image.

Space shuttle Discovery liftoff for mission STS-128

Finally, I had planned to attach my point and shoot camera to the tripod and shoot some video as well, but the crappy flexpod I bought that day fell apart on me. So, I ended up setting the little camera directly on the ground and crossing my fingers. I couldn't get a clear view of the sky, but figured it was worth a shot anyway. The resulting video falls squarely in the "Happy Accident" category.

(At about 1:50 seconds into the video, the rumble that starts is the sound from engines. It took that long for it to get to where I was shooting from. Prior to that, the all the rocket noise is coming from the audio on the radio. The announcer was obviously much closer.)


I can't find the link to the video. I'll add it back in when I get a chance to pull it from the archive

To give credit where it's due:

  • Thanks to Dr. T.S. Kelso from for helping make sure I was setup to capture the entire flight path.

  • For a great set of notes on shooting launches, visit this page on

  • K4GCC (146.940) retransmission of the NASA audio which you hear in the video.

  • M.C. for letting me borrow some additional gear.