How It Works

Penultimate Space Shuttle launch captured by incredible amateur snaps

Stefanie Gordon captured the following snap while en route to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida from New York’s La Guardia Airport to visit her parents. Luckily, although she’d been sleeping for most of the flight, the pilot alerted the passengers to the sight of the 0856 EDT (1256 GMT) launch of Endeavour as they neared their destination and Stefanie grabbed the stunning shot with her iPhone out of the window.

She quickly became a hit on Twitter (@Stefmara) after tweeting “My plane flew right past the shuttle!” with the photos.

Credit: Stefanie Gordon

Meanwhile, in a slightly less accidental photograph, students of the Quest for Stars program successfully snapped a photo of the shuttle from a helium-filled balloon known as Senatobia-1 they’d sent into the stratosphere.

Launched from Gainesville, Florida, the balloon took off over an hour before the Space Shuttle to allow it to get into position 30,000 metres (100,000 feet) in the sky.

Endeavour is currently making its way to the International Space Station and is expected to dock tomorrow morning at 0615 EDT (1015 GMT).




  • Steve

    To see that from the plane would have been amazing! Ive seen a launch before some 10 years ago now and the atmosphere at it is out of this world.

    • It’s such a shame that there’s only one flight left, I would love to have seen a shuttle launch!

      Jonny O’Callaghan
      Staff Writer

  • steve

    Sorry to hear that jonny! I was extremely lucky to see it as it had been put back 2 or 3 days in a row because of bad weather. Then on my last night in florida they gave the go for launch! I cant remember what shuttle it was. Feels like a life time ago! Look on the bright side… You might get to see a launch thats going to mars! A little bird told me my subscription copy has arrived! Looking forward to finishing work and indulging!

    • Yeah that’s one of the things I’m always worried about; if I went out to see a shuttle launch there’s a high chance it’d be scrubbed for months and it could turn out to be a wasted trip! Anyway, if all goes to plan, hopefully we’ll all be flying in our own personal shuttles to Mars by 2050…

      And great, hope you enjoy the magazine, it’s an excellent issue!

  • steve

    I hope one day we will get to go to mars. If you ever get the chance you should visit the cape. Theres still alot to see even if you dont get to see a launch. When i was there they were building modules for the ISS which you could watch from outside the clean room. Im sure theres always something going on to make the trip worth while.

  • bear

    Wow!!