About a half hour before the scheduled launch, I headed to the beach, camera, cell phone and Rush Limbaugh in hand. (Don’t ask…)
At 2:28 p.m. EST, this is what I saw:
A moment later…
The shuttle was obscured by the patchy clouds that floated above the Cape.
And finally this…
NASA reports that Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew of six astronauts are in space, beginning their 11-day mission to the International Space Station. The climb to orbit took about 8 1/2 minutes.
Following a smooth countdown, with no technical issues and weather that steadily improved throughout the afternoon, the shuttle lifted off on time from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:28 p.m. EST.
Congratulations to the NASA Kennedy launch team. Nice job, guys!