Go Columbia!

Here are three photos of the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-75, launched exactly on time at 3:18 p.m. EST on February 22, 1996. You can see the shuttle rotate 90 degrees as it gains altitude, so that the external fuel tank is on top of the shuttle.

The day was pretty hazy, so I had to crank up the contrast on the photos to bring out the details, which also shifted the colors somewhat. The third photo has the best detail, and least color distortion, presumably because there was less haze at the higher altitude. Cathy shot lots of photos, with two different cameras, which made it possible to catch the shuttle at lots of different points in the launch, and gave us the great third photo where the shuttle was up out of the worst of the haze, but still close enough to show the shuttle clearly.

We were about six miles away, so 40 seconds or so later we started to hear the launch as well as see it. Even at the time the third photo was shot, we still hadn't heard anything from the launch.

Photo #1 of Shuttle Launch

Photo #2 of Shuttle Launch

Photo #3 of Shuttle Launch

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