Adventures of a first-time shuttle photographer.
- By Ed Darack
- AirSpaceMag.com, October 13, 2010
In late 2009, I decided to look into the possibility of going to the Kennedy Space Center. The Web site launchphotography.com provides detailed information on how to view a shuttle launch from around the Kennedy Space Center region, and included information on the upcoming STS-130 mission.
The quality of the photography—spanning ten years—led me to believe the site's owner, Ben Cooper, was a retired NASA employee who lived in the area. When I finally met him, I discovered Ben was actually a 25-year-old, current NASA photographer who had graduated from Embry-Riddle University in 2008, and is now one of the most highly respected photographers of space vehicles in the world.
Ben encouraged me to apply for a press pass, and said that if I did get credentials, he could help me with "remotes"—cameras positioned around the launch pad that are triggered either sonically or seismically when the shuttle launches. That was an opportunity I didn’t expect.
In this shot, Endeavour is revealed during rollback of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) of the mobile launcher platform, Pad 39A. The RSS, which pivots open like a giant steel-girdered clam, reveals the shuttle approximately 20 hours before launch.