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A few more Shuttle pictures

January 25th, 2007 by Sean Davis · 3 Comments

In addition to my previous picture postings from the recent work I’ve been involved in with the spac shuttle plume measurements, I have a couple more gems to share with you. The first is a picture of the night time shuttle launch, taken by my advisor, Linnea Avallone. It’s a fantastic shot that captures just how bright the shuttle is at night.


photo credit: Linnea Avallone

The next three images were taken from aboard the NASA WB-57 aircraft and were provided by the NASA WAVE imaging team. They are pictures of the space shuttle solid rocket boosters separating from the shuttle.



photo credit: NASA

These shots blow me away every time I look at them. …Especially the bottom one, which seems to show gas being ejected forward as the SRB’s separate! I don’t know what the speed of the shuttle is at the point of separation, but it is most certainly supersonic. Needless to say, these shots are providing a breathtaking new view of the space shuttle.

Tags: shuttle

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hank Roberts // Mar 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Could that last picture be ablation from the oxygen-hydrogen flame hitting the boosters?

    Also, are you posting anything about whatever the rocket exhaust (the SRBs, which are burning, I think, an aluminum powder in rubber cement, or something like that) plume may be doing in the stratosphere? I know it’s being tracked; curious how long the particles stay up and what their chemistry amounts to, in total.

  • 2 Hank Roberts // Mar 5, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Er, on second look, even the second picture shows something outgassing from one of the two boosters — have you any contact to ask if they found an O-ring failure when they recovered that one?

    On the first picture both boosters have an eerie blue glow — what’s that?

  • 3 seand // Mar 6, 2007 at 3:44 pm


    The last picture shows the gasses being shot forward as the SRB separates. As for SRB chemistry, there is information out there on the internet about that. You are pretty much right as far as I know — alumina is the main ejected particulate. As for the chemistry, there is local ozone loss, but it doesn’t appear to be significant in a global sense. There are several papers out there on this. …One I’m familiar with is Ross et al, Observation of stratopheric ozone depletion in rocket exhaust plumes, Nature, 390, 6 Nov 97, 62-64. (It’s probably money walled). …Also, I think the blue glow is gas being ionized at the front edge of the shuttle

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