Shuttle to land in Florida at 12:32 p.m. Eastern

By Phil Plait | August 21, 2007 9:38 am

Update (12:36 Eastern time): The Shuttle is down after a smooth and beautiful landing. The video feed from NASA TV was incredible; I strongly urge folks to tune in for the next launch and landing.

As I write this the Shuttle Endeavour is just less than one hour from landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I am writing LIVE updates on my Twitter page. I’ll update this blog entry when Endeavour is down.


Comments (23)

  1. Fred

    Hey Phil, the link you gave to NTV is 404 :(

  2. Fred

    Nevermind! It’s only 404 in Twiterrific. D’oh!

  3. PAS

    Annoying Ad Alert! The banner appears near the top of the page, covering the topmost blog entry title.

  4. The IR-cam on NASA-TV is extra-cool. Presumably the “puff” noises and the IR blobs are burn-off of extra hydrazine?

  5. Rats! I was at a meeting all morning, and by the time I was back at the computer, it was already down.

  6. BigBadSis

    Thanks for the link, Phil!!! I watched the shuttle land oh so beautifully and flawlessly! I loved the view from what seemed to be inside the cockpit as it landed. Awesome stuff. The announcer welcomed them home and said their mission brought new meaning to “a higher education.”

  7. Trevor

    I forgot it was coming in during lunch, however I felt the sonic boom (I live in FL). We thought it was an explosion somewhere at first. All of our neighbors were outside trying to figure out what happened.

  8. This is a quick and stupid question, but I wanted to take my son to watch a shuttle launch, but I’m not sure as to what I have to do to make this happen, such as where to drive to, where to stand, what to bring, etc. Any sites out there which could lay out the steps necessary to make it an enjoyable experience? I want my son to see REAL science in action before these damn backwards WV schools tell him jeebus did it.

  9. Weren’t the “puffs” only coming from one OMS engine? I thought it was the nitrogen leak mentioned in last night’s press conference. Anyone know for sure? It was kind of unnerving.

  10. Halidai

    I went to see a launch at the Kennedy Space Center many years back. They had it all organized with busses taking you out to a (huge) grassy place to set up lawn chairs, blankets and the like.

    It may have changed since then. We were a good ways away from the launch pad, but could still hear (and feel) the power of the engines. Binoculars were useful, but not absolutely necessary.

    NASA has a web page with details …

    Kennedy Space Center also apparently still offers launch viewing trips …

  11. BlacKats

    I’ve been watching it live on NASA TV since about 10AM EST while multi-tasking here at work. This was the first landing I’ve remembered to tune in to. Very cool on the geek factor. I would love to witness a take-off or landing in person.

  12. DrFlimmer

    I followed the whole mission on NASA TV via internet which was quite incredible especially launch and landing. I can’t wait till october for the next mission.

  13. JC

    I am so slow…about 12:30 I hear these two quick sonic booms over South Florida and all I could think of at first is “What idiot jet jockey is screwing around now?”


    Glad they made it back in one piece.

  14. Lurchgs

    I love the shot though the windscreen… I wonder if they got that from Hawaii Air? Some years ago, I flew HA into Anchorage, AK, and they had the forward view on the cabin TV… while we were on the ground in HI, Immediately after takeoff, then on the long approach into Anchorage. Truely awsome flying up Cook Inlet…

    If more airlines did that, I’d be more inclined to suffer through the rest of their abuse.

    I’m glad the crew of the shuttle (as well as the passengers and shuttle itself) made it home safely.

    another subtle triumph for science over idiocy

  15. Chris

    I watched the last twenty minutes of coverage on my lunch, and found myself holding my breath on the final approach, until the wheels touched down. Wow! There were some great shots both within the lander and when it was still at high altitude.

    Attending a shuttle launch is one of the few things which could entice me to visit the US these days. I’d REALLY like to do that, but if it gets postponed, what else is there to do in central Florida?

    Still, I’m glad I caught the NASA feed. Thanks for reminding us about it, Phil!

  16. KaiYeves

    I caught it on the live feed after hurrying over from the Immersion Presents Black Sea expediton webcast, where I was lucky enough to get my question answered on air! (Great stuff for any other archeologists here, noon eastern until the 26th at I started watching at twenty minutes to touchdown, when the shuttle was over the Galapagos Islands. Really exciting stuff! I was on pins and needles until the landing gear came out and when the weels contacted, I broke out cheering. Endeavour is home safe, and all’s right in my world. By endurance we conquer!

  17. magitekkn

    Watched the landing from GSFC (down the hall from your old friends (?) at GLAST)

    Always glad to see another STS mission successfully completed, I just wish that shuttle missions were so common that they weren’t ‘special.’ (I’d be happy with ~20 LEO missions per year… oh well)

  18. Remek

    Weren’t the “puffs” only coming from one OMS engine? I thought it was the nitrogen leak mentioned in last night’s press conference. Anyone know for sure? It was kind of unnerving.

    The ‘puffs’ (more easily visible in infrared since they’re pretty hot) are coming out of the APU exhaust vents right beside the tail fin. It’s a combination of steam from the “boilers” (that cool the APU pumps and oil feeds) and the mostly steam exhaust from the hydrazine catalytic burning that powers the APU turbines (which in turn power the hydraulic pumps for the orbiter’s hydraulically controlled parts for both launch and reentry).

  19. David Vanderschel

    The BA wrote, “The video feed from NASA TV was incredible; I strongly urge folks to tune in for the next launch and landing.” There are some HD cameras there during those events and HDNET has been providing live coverage of all the launches and landings lately. Those with HD capability and an HDNET TV feed might prefer the HDNET coverage.

  20. The first mission I have managed to follow from launch to landing. I must say I was moved by that nose facing image of the Shuttle on the runway. That is so iconic. As someone was saying on nasaspaceflight, all that puffing and grunting, and the squat nature of the vessel … she’s (?) like some kind of monster or space beastie !

    I’m only just understanding why the replacement for the Shuttle is this (even more) ugly squat thing that seems to be going backwards to the Apollo days. I guess there are good reasons for the choice, but why throw out years of experience with a space plane like design ? Anyway, as I said, still understanding.


  21. MichaelS

    I saw the landing on MSNBC TV while sitting in the clinic lobby, waiting on the doc’s assistant to finalize some paperwork. At first it was just another landing, until I realized it was live coverage of Endeavor; I said “hey, the space shuttle is landing” to nobody, and the whole room sat with me and watched until the shuttle was stopped.

    I liked the in-cockpit view; and seeing the incredibly strenuous 1.3 g’s they were pulling through the 270° roundabout thing. :) I was wondering what the IR views were about though; I guess I missed that part of the commentary (the volume was low and hard to hear at times), and wasn’t sure if something was broken, or they just wanted to show the heat coming off the motor. Is it normally that cloudy? For a bit, you could hardly tell that they were even looking at the shuttle it was so obscure.

  22. Ben

    Richard, try reading this rundown of mine, it may help give you an understanding:

    The key to going to see one is being flexible towards delays; be prepared to work around it, in otherwords. Sometimes, such as the last two, they go right on time after months of planning that particular date. But that only happens half the time.

    As far as the logistics go, it’s not at all hard to go see one and you can get fairly close if you get the “causeway tickets.” Your son would also love to just see the space center and tour around, I’m sure.

    Good luck! -Ben


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