Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

STS-128: Shuttle Separation Complete

Beautiful NASA pic of shuttle some distance away. That's the KIBO module in the top of the frame. The shuttle performed a fly-around of the ISS before moving some distance away.

Last night I had a personal verification that the shuttle Discovery had undocked and moved away from the station. I had been attending a meeting of the Salt Lake City chapter of IPMS (International Plastic Modeler Society) in the South Salt Lake city center building. As the meeting ended, I walked out of the east doors to head to the parking garage and suddenly noticed two bright stars above the distant mountain tops. Only... they were moving.

I immediately recognized the two brilliant points of light for what they were, the brightest would be the ISS, and the other was the shuttle as it moved away from the station. It was pure coincidence that I spotted them, as it only takes about 5-7 minutes for them to cross the sky overhead. A couple minutes later, they were gone over the eastern horizon - not even enough time to run inside and tell the other modelers to come watch. Once gone, I continued to my car, knowing that I had seen one of those few moments when one of us normal citizens get to witness a piece of the space program.

You can have a chance to see it, too. Go to www.spaceweather.com and look for the link to its SImple Satellite Tracker, which will help you calculate viewing times for your location. Remember, with each shuttle flight we are getting closer to the point where the shuttle will no longer fly in our sky. Don't miss your few last chances.

Mark Daymont
Space Center Educator
From his blog: http://spacerubble.blogspot.com/

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