STS-109_patchEarly in the morning of March 12, 2002, Andrew and I got up at 0300 to see the STS-109 re-entry plasma trail over Austin.

It was a cool, clear night… so we saw everything perfectly!

These pictures don’t do the experience justice. It was a small, relatively early technology Sony point-and-click digital camera, but I still got some kinda cool shots. 🙂

This is the start of the pass… before I changed camera settings to get a brighter image!

You can clearly see the difference between Columbia as the very bright (and very hot!) spot at the front of the plasma trail, though!

A little blurry… sorry! 🙂

The color is pretty accurate, though – such a memorable shade… you never really forget it!

Much better… you can start to see the plasma trail breaking up on the far left of the image.
Good clear shot of the plasma trail as Columbia streaked across the Texas sky.
I went back and took a shot of the rapidly thinning plasma trail…
Columbia disappears over the horizon on her way to a KSC landing… note the gaps in the trail!
Another “gap shot”.

We left the park and went back to the house to turn on NASA TV *just in time* to catch the landing in Florida!