Thursday, September 20, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavor - Final flight

Yesterday evening rumors began to spread that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would be flying over the University of Arizona mid morning today- and sure enough by 8 PM last night the rumors were confirmed by NASA!  We were going to witness Endeavor on the final leg of her final flight.  Astronaut Commander Mark Kelly (who flew Endeavors final space mission) had requested that NASA fly the shuttle over the University of Arizona in honor of his wife, retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who remains part and parcel of our community here in Tucson.  As details began to emerge we learned that the flyby would be at approximately 11:15 AM at an altitude of only1500 ft.

Endeavor on final UA approach
I arrived early to scout out a nice viewpoint and ended up on an outdoor balcony at the Student Union.  Sure enough, right on cue, Space Shuttle Endeavor riding atop a Boeing 747 flew over University Medical Center and the main mall at 11:15 AM.  At left is an image of endeavor in the distance as the 747 banked in for the pass.  Thousands of people...visitors to campus, as well as students and staff lined the mall, outdoor balconies and rooftops as one of the great symbols of 20th century American vision, spirit, and  innovation reminded us that we must venture beyond that which we know...we must go beyond our comfort zone and challenge our perceptions of the world around us.  As Endeavor flew west, leaving the University climbing high up for the final leg to California, the crowd began to cheer and celebrate.  It is worth noting that earlier when scouting a location to take pictures, I ran into a dad who had come to campus with his two daughters, who were positively delighted that they had been pulled out of school for the day.  I mentioned to him how great it was that he pulled his kids out of school to see the final flight of the shuttle, and he remarked to me that he would never have considered passing up this chance to inspire his girls.  Truly, he hit the nail on the head- Inspiration.

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Starboard side of Space Shuttle Endeavor
Both of these images were taken with my Canon T2i, and a 200mm lens at f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second.

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