NASA - That's How We Roll

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    Space Shuttle Discovery looks like a hooded falcon. She's ready to ship to the Smithsonian on Tuesday, with low 1,500 ft. flight over Washington D.C.

    (Click photo to enlarge - it's 21 megapixels. More photos and video links below.)

    Mrsth, ChrisRudge, Wind Watcher, and 41 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 15 more comments

    1. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      thanks y'all.

      - NASA HQ on flickr is posting some photos of the wonderfully named mate-demate

      - cool offer. Want me to send you the three RAW files (with +/- 2EV)? I did a Photomatix Tone Map to get this, but I'm not very experienced with that tool.

    2. rass999 denis laframboise 24 months ago | reply

      SOOOO cool. I would just love it but.....I truly wonder how you could send me a 100 meg file. Your raws are surely around thirty meg each ??? And I do not know how to send or receive these size mails. I can manage photoshop but as for internet...I need you. I have a zip program somewhere in my computer, does that help ?

    3. rass999 denis laframboise 24 months ago | reply

      I find this tone map quite good. If I do it, I will get rid of the "aberrations chromatique" (in french) in the windows, take some noise out (probably due to the iso (400) and I will try to pop up the whole picture. One of my tricks with Photomatix is based on some patience. I sometimes produce between five and ten different results with different adjustments before bringing them in photoshop in ten different layers to use the best parts from each of them. From there, I sometimes work for up to five hours. Depending on different reasons (sometimes unknown to me), the end results are often quite surprising. I just love to work photos and I guess that you love photography to...besides rockets.
      Have a wonderful weekend Steve.


    4. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      Wow! I would love that special treatment... I can send you large files for free with if you send me your email (the files will download over ftp, not your email system). You can reach me at

      And I just posted some VAB shots too:

      Welcome to the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB)

    5. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      Update from our friend at the Cape:

      "weather has halted the mating of Discovery. Very windy here. We will know in a few minutes if the operation with continue or they will try again in the morning.”

    6. r.AI (-) 24 months ago | reply

      Steve! You are so fortunate for the opportunity to experience these treasures so close. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    7. Pieces of Eye 24 months ago | reply

      Just saw a post of Discovery mated.

    8. JeffSech 24 months ago | reply

      "Beefy landing gear..."

      Obviously true. But from normal suburban-dweller experience it looks a little on the light side, so it is a tribute to advanced materials science, not to mention top notch engineering. Along those same lines, I was always amazed at the strength of the seemingly-thin struts that held the orbiter to the external tank/SRBs.

    9. Marvin Trill 24 months ago | reply

      Excellent photo.

    10. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      This just in from friends at KSC:

      Shuttle on Plane

      She is ready to fly away from NASA for the last time at daybreak tomorrow (Wash Post).

      And regarding the landing gears, wikipedia summarizes:

      "As a weight-saving measure, the gear could not be retracted once deployed. Since any premature extension of the landing gear would very likely have been catastrophic (as it opened through the heat shield layers), the landing gear could only be lowered by manual controls, and not by any automatic system. Similarly, since the Shuttle landed at high speed and could not abort its landing attempt, the gear had to deploy reliably on the first try every time. The gear were unlocked and deployed by triple redundant hydraulics, with the gear doors actuated by mechanical linkages to the gear strut. If all three hydraulic systems failed to release the landing gear uplocks within one second of the release command, pyrotechnic charges automatically cut the lock hooks and a set of springs deployed the gear."

    11. DarkAngelDay 24 months ago | reply

      Wow! Great shot!

    12. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      And Discovery just landed in D.C.
      ...a swan song of sorts...

      Here are a couple of my earlier posts from the glory days... Hooded before her final launch:
      The Pull of Discovery

      Coming in hot on STS-131 (image is not rotated):
      Space Shuttle Nose Dive

    13. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      and an interesting post-mortem: How We Nearly Lost Discovery

    14. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      oh, and back to the VAB, here's a fun shot from Haley's finger above... with me moving tripod around below

      shuttle by Haley Jackson

    15. toureasy47201 24 months ago | reply

      Great! My first thought on seeing the above was that you had a scale model in your home :-) You should consider adding this picture to this group:


    16. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      They are fun to play with!

      EveryScape has finished the stitching of my fisheye shots into a virtual tour. Before you start, remember to click the full screen button in the bottom right corner of the main image. Then you can click on the image and drag to look up down and all around. OK here is the VR version of this room.

      And here’s a flickr post showing what the input images looked like for the flight deck and links to the other areas.

    17. rocketmavericks 24 months ago | reply

      FYI. Your skid marks of rentry above, are actually liquid hydrogen stains from blow-by leakage from the attached fuel tanks to the orbiter. I saw the same marks on the Atlantis and Endeavor today with the Shuttle commanders that took me out for a private tour and some flight instruction in each of their vehicles, and I asked. When the orbiter launches, those two hatch doors are open, and the connection to the fuel tanks connect to the orbiter for LOx and LH2. The LH2 leaks quite a bit and causes those marks. There is not much rentry plasma in the flow field at this location of the orbiter, which is why the tiles are so think.

    18. Pieces of Eye 24 months ago | reply

      How does LH2 'stain'?

    19. jurvetson 24 months ago | reply

      and why are the streak marks from the screw heads at the bottom of the frame at the same angle as the ones near the nozzles?

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