Night Launch

Adventures of a first-time shuttle photographer.

(Ed Darack)

Turning Basin

(Ed Darack)

I received media approval from NASA just a week before the planned launch. I still needed to drive myself—and a pile of camera gear, including a Canon 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 lens—from Nevada to Florida. I finished an Air & Space story about my embed with a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey unit in Afghanistan, and within two hours was on the road. I arrived in Titusville, Florida, some 2,700 miles and three days later.

The next day, Friday, February 5, I entered Kennedy Space Center. In this shot, a pelican stands on the pilings at the barge “turning basin” near the Vehicle Assembly Building. In the distance is the launch assembly at Pad 39A.

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