Planetary Society volunteer Ken Kremer is reporting for us from the Kennedy Space Center, where he witnessed the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11. Kremer is a research scientist and freelance journalist who spends his spare time giving public outreach presentations on behalf of The Planetary Society as a volunteer and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Solar System Ambassador. He also enjoys creating Mars mosaics. Thanks Ken!
Space Shuttle Atlantis and her crew of seven astronauts roared off Launch Pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center right on time at 2:01:56 on May 11, 2009 on a bold and high stakes mission (STS-125) to restore, refurbish, renew and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope to the absolute apex of its capabilities and extend the working lifetime to at least 2014.
The ground rumbled beneath my feet at KSC and the sky crackled repeatedly with roaring thunder that intensified as the shuttle rose skyward and accelerated atop a spreading plume of smoke and ash emanating from the brilliantly bright and magnificently hot fire and intense flashes from the rocket exhaust of the three powerful shuttle main rocket engines and twin solid rocket boosters.
For the first time in Shuttle program history a second shuttle, Endeavour, sat poised at the adjoining shuttle launch Pad 39 B ready to