Chris Kridler's Sky Diary: storm chasing, photography and rainy-day tales

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FUNNEL VISION, a novel about storm chasers by Chris Kridler

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Chris Kridler - video, photography, writing and editing services

Words/images COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Chris Kridler. All rights reserved. Do not use Sky Diary photos on other Web sites. Personal use as computer wallpaper is permitted, but do not distribute photos. Write for information about purchasing video, photographs or articles. | Frequently asked questions



rocket and space shuttle launches


Rocket and space shuttle launches light the sky regularly over Cape Canaveral and other towns in Brevard County, Florida. Here are some photos of our ventures into space. I haven't updated this page in a while, though I still photograph launches when I can. Click on the images for larger views; hit "back" in your browser to return to this page.

Other space pages on Sky Diary: places at Kennedy Space Center | short movie of shuttle launch

Photographs copyright 2008 by Chris Kridler

Launch from Kazakhstan! Gallery of pictures from a Soyuz launch to the International Space Station from Russia's space facility in Kazakhstan, in spring 2003 ... check it out


Space shuttle Endeavour rolls out to Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on Oct. 12, 2002. The launch is scheduled for Nov. 11. Image from video.

A Delta 4 rocket is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Nov. 16, 2002. Here's the rocket, as seen from its service tower, and the flame trench. Images from slides.



Space shuttle Atlantis rolls to launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 10, 2002, then launches on Oct. 7 at 3:45:51 p.m. EDT after the "astrovan" takes the crew to the pad. Landing was Oct. 18. Vertical images from slides; rest from video.


On Sept. 18, 2002, an Atlas 2AS rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:04 p.m. EDT with a Hispasat 1D satellite. First two images from video; second two from slides.


An Atlas 5 rocket, the first of its kind, launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 6:05 p.m. EDT on August 21, 2002, with a Eutelsat broadcast satellite aboard. First three images, from slides, show rocket on mobile launch platform, rollback and launch. Remainder of images from video.


A Delta rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the Contour comet-seeking research spacecraft aboard on July 3, 2002, at 2:47:41 a.m EDT. Unfortunately, Contour has since broken into pieces. Images from video except final image, from slide.


Shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center on April 19, 2002, with security helicopters and TV trucks in attendance. Images from slides.

As seen from the Bee Line (Route 528), an Atlas 2A rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 7, 2002, at 5:59 p.m. EST, carrying a Tracking Data and Relay Satellite. Image from slide.



Space shuttle Columbia launched at 6:22 a.m. EST on March 1, 2002, on a mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. The pre-dawn light and low clouds made it a pretty launch from Kennedy Space Center. Images from slides.



An Atlas 3B rocket made its maiden launch at 7:43 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with a communications satellite aboard. (Click for the broad view.) Helicopters patrolled the area. Images from prints.

An Atlas 2AS rocket blasted off on a mission for the National Reconnaissance Office at 10:32 p.m. EDT October 10 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Image from slide.

On April 6, 2001, a U.S. Air Force Titan 4B launched at 3:28 a.m. with a missile warning satellite. The first picture shows the light reflecting off the water at Port Canaveral, as well as off the clouds above. The second shot shows some of the descending arc of the trajectory, as seen from the port; click to see the large version, which shows a streak of red dots as an airplane or helicopter moves across the frame during the time exposure. Images from slides.



Space shuttle Atlantis launched at 5:04 a.m. EDT on July 12, 2001, from Kennedy Space Center on a mission to the International Space Station. At one point, it looked like a sun rising in the sky. The second picture is from a slide; the rest of these images were taken from video shot at the press site.



The pelicans at Port Canaveral were unimpressed when a Delta 2 launched June 30, 2001, at 3:46 p.m., carrying NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe, designed to measure ancient light in the universe. The rocket is clearly visible in the first of the launch pictures (after the pelican). The trail cast a shadow; the last photo shows the billowing remains of the trail near the ground. Images from slides.

An Atlas 2AS launches at 12:41 a.m. on June 19. Because the image was overexposed, I've enhanced the contrast, resulting in the fiery red color. Night rocket launches really do set the whole sky aglow, however, so in that sense, this picture is almost accurate. Image from slide.



Space shuttle Endeavour lifted off at 2:40 p.m. EDT on April 19, 2001, from Kennedy Space Center on a mission to the International Space Station. Here, it moves through and behind low clouds on its voyage to the heavens. In the third photo, you see the tiny "star" on the right that is the shuttle (click to see the big image) juxtaposed with its trail. The last image is of the trail, shooting up amid the clouds. Images from slides.

On April 7, 2001, a Delta 2 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 11:02 a.m. with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft aboard, stopping beachgoers in their tracks, including the woman who halted in front of my video camera! Then the trail seemed to tie itself into a knot where the rocket ejected its boosters. The beach was crowded with spectators. The first image is from video; the rest are from slides.



This beautiful launch day literally began at dawn on March 8, 2001, over Satellite Beach, Florida. The sun slipped up over the Atlantic in the east, and a couple of minutes later, at 6:32 a.m., space shuttle Discovery blasted off in a lovely sky on mission STS-102 to the International Space Station. Images from slides.

Shuttle Columbia gets a piggyback ride home from California on a 747 on March 5, 2001. Click to see the wide view as it flies over the ocean. Image from slide.

The huge Titan rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on February 27, 2001. Image from slide.



Space shuttle Atlantis, on mission STS-98, launches at 6:13 p.m. on February 7, 2001, with the Destiny laboratory aboard, headed for the International Space Station. These first three photos show it first as a star-like light coming over the horizon, as viewed from Port Canaveral. From there, it climbs ever higher. As the sunset lit Atlantis' trail, a close-up shot reveals the two rocket boosters (tiny "stars") separating from the shuttle (the brighter "star"). Making the Atlantis launch even more magical, a full moon had risen in the east just before the sunset launch. In the photo at right, the shuttle is still visible, appearing as a tiny star below the tip of the trail. Images from slides.



Even after Atlantis disappeared from view on February 7, the trail continued to take on glorious sunset hues. Here you see it as it falls apart, glows vividly and drifts east, with the full moon shining brightly (seen in lower right of first and third photos) all the while. Images from slides.

Viewed from Port Canaveral is the fiery trail of a Delta 2 rocket carrying a Global Positioning System satellite into orbit, seen after it lifted off at 2:55 a.m. on January 30, 2001. The second image is a view of the descending arc of the Delta's trail, as the rocket heads toward the far horizon. The several-second exposure of the photo gives the bobbing boats a ghostly glow. Images from slides.



An Atlas 2AS rocket launches with a spy satellite aboard on December 5, 2000, at 9:47 p.m. This launch was viewed from the beach at Cape Canaveral. Image from slide.

On the STS-97 mission, Space Shuttle Endeavour heads to the International Space Station on November 30, 2000. The multi-second exposure on this shot begins just after the shuttle's liftoff at 10:06 p.m., hence the glowing trail seems suspended in midair. Image from slide.

On October 19, 2000, at 8:40 p.m., an Atlas 2A launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a military communications satellite aboard. Here are three photos from the launch. Images from slides.



On the STS-92 mission, Space Shuttle Discovery launches on a mission to the International Space Station on October 11, 2000. The Discovery launch, the 100th shuttle launch, took place at 7:17 p.m. EDT, during an exquisite twilight. It was gorgeous! The show wasn't over yet: The trail from Space Shuttle Discovery is lit up like a rainbow as the sun, already over the horizon, hit the smoke. As the trail fell apart, it still looked beautiful. What a night! Images from slides.

Shuttle mission STS-106, Atlantis, zooms into orbit at 8:45 a.m. Eastern time on September 8, 2000. It was on a mission to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Then the shuttle is juxtaposed with another kind of flying vehicle as it zooms upward. Sometimes the trails are as pretty as the flight: Last is the view from the 528 causeway after the launch. Images from slides.



Seen from the rooftops of Indialantic, the Delta 3 launches successfully with a dummy satellite payload on August 23, 2000, at 7:05 a.m. Image from slide.

A smoke trail hangs in the air after the launch of a Delta 2 rocket at 5:16 a.m. on July 16, 2000. Image from slide.

A Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 14, 2000, carrying an EchoStar VI satellite. The same rocket is shown streaking through and beyond the low clouds. The launch occurred at 1:21 a.m. EDT. Images from slides.



Space shuttle Endeavour, ready for mission STS-99, sits on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 5, 2000. Then Endeavour takes off from Kennedy Space Center at 12:43 p.m. on Feb. 10 on a mission to map the Earth using sophisticated radar. This photo was shot from the beach by Patrick Air Force Base. Images from prints.

An Atlas rocket takes off under heavy cloud cover on Feb. 3, 2000, as seen from the beach at Cape Canaveral. The Feb. 3 Atlas launch left a glowing trail of vapor that hung in the air for a few minutes as the glow from the rocket penetrated the low clouds. Images from prints.



An Atlas rocket shoots over the Atlantic Ocean toward a full moon on Jan. 20, 2000, as seen from the beach at Cape Canaveral. Later that night was the lunar eclipse. Image from print.

Space shuttle Discovery launched on mission STS-103 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on December 19, 1999, at 7:50 p.m., headed for the Hubble Space Telescope. Click to see a one-minute movie of the launch. Image from video.

The night of Nov. 22, 1999, an Atlas rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral. Here's the view from the beach to the south. Image from print.


see a short shuttle movie | go to the gallery for storms and more