Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center

Amazing Flying Machine

NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis is on display at Kennedy Space Center.

Space Shuttle Atlantis, from the fleet of NASA’s Space Shuttles, is on display at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As seen during our 2019 Florida Summer Vacation.

When Laura and I last visited Kennedy Space Center way back in 2004, the Space Shuttles were still flying. But since that time, the Space Shuttles have all been retired, and NASA’s next mode of transportation is under development. The different Space Shuttles have been placed in different locations around the United States, and it was quite fitting that one of the shuttles is at Kennedy Space Center. After all, each of the Space Shuttle missions began on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.

Although a Space Shuttle has always looked cool when we would see one on television, it looked even more impressive when we were looking at the actual Atlantis. First off, this photo really does not give you a good sense of the size of Atlantis. The shuttle is huge!

And second, you can see much more detail in Atlantis in person than you can see on television. For example, I always thought the surface was rather smooth, but there was much more texture in the white areas than I had realized. There were also many more ports, holes, jet nozzles, and whatever else than you might think.

As someone who grew up with the Space Shuttles, I had been interested to see Atlantis ever since the exhibit opened at Kennedy Space Center. I was glad to finally have that chance.

Making It Real

Seeing Atlantis for myself made the Space Shuttles seem all the more real. Not that I am like those people who think the moon landings were fake or anything like that. I very much believed the Space Shuttles were real before seeing Atlantis. But seeing one made it all that much more concrete, if that makes any sense.

Sometimes, no matter how much we hear about something or how many pictures we see, it takes actually experiencing it to make it even more real in our minds. While we did not experience an actual Space Shuttle flight, we did see the actual vehicle that carried astronauts into space. The only thing better would have been if we could have touched it. But I can understand why it is set up so that no one can touch it.

We have experienced that same thing with places we have visited. For example, no matter how much of Hawaiʻi we had seen on television or in pictures, there was really nothing like seeing it for ourselves in person. It was even better than we imagined.

However, we can’t always experience everything ourselves. There is just no way for average people like us to go everywhere in the world and do everything that there is to do. So we read and watch what others have done.

It really is not at all unlike the faith that the Bible speaks of over and over. Even though we have not seen Jesus, we believe that he lived because others have said so. So for now, we go by our faith to see us through, knowing that those who persevere will one day have their faith become sight. At that time, seeing him will definitely make him real to us.

Bible Verse

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:27-29

About the Photo

This was one of those times where a fisheye lens might have been handy, because the Space Shuttles are so large that it is difficult to get Atlantis into one photo. In fact, as you can see here, I failed to get all of it into one photo.

So I did the best that I could do, waiting around for the crowd to clear out in front of Atlantis. Even though we were inside a building, there was enough light on Atlantis so that exposure was not all that tricky once I increased the ISO setting somewhat. I did also take several detail photos from different angles. I will save those for another time, however.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: June 13, 2019
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.