Illustration by: Ágnes Keszeg
Kennedy Space Center, Florida (USA).
Moving the space shuttle from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39A takes about six hours to complete. Atlantis started this move the evening of May 31 and was arriving at the launch pad just as Endeavour was landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility about 6.5 miles to the East. I was at the launch pad on the top of the rotating service structure with a few others at this moment of convergence. The double sonic booms announcing Endeavour’s arrival home and that it was time to look towards the spotlights at the runway. Descending out of the darkness, Endeavour was only visible in the spotlights for a second or two right before touchdown. While it would have been a unique image from the penultimate landing of the program, it’s a moment that I feel privileged to have witnessed and one that I will always remember.
A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Joel is currently a contract photo editor and photographer at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Since moving to Washington in February of 2014, he has photographed everything from hearings on Capitol Hill to Soyuz launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the return of human space flight to the United States.