Space Shuttle Engines at Kennedy Space Center

Let’s Fly!

Rocket engines of different sizes fill the back of the Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center, as seen during our 2019 Florida Summer Vacation.

Rocket engines of different sizes fill the back of the Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center, as seen during our 2019 Florida Summer Vacation.

One of the highlights of our visit to Kennedy Space Center was the chance to see a Space Shuttle up close. I have lots of memories of watching the different launches and landings throughout the history of the Space Shuttle program, so seeing one of the shuttles in person was really cool to me.

I really liked this view of all of the engines that helped to propel and maneuver Atlantis. As you can see, some are larger and some are smaller. The larger ones are for main propulsion, while some of the smaller ones helped to turn the shuttle while it was in the vacuum of space.

It has always been fascinating to me that such vehicles as the Space Shuttles and other rockets could fly and even leave the earth’s atmosphere. That is even more fascinating when you are up close to them and see their actual size. You also have a better understanding of just how much power those engines have to be able to lift something so large off of the ground and into the air. Maybe it is because I have an engineering background, but the engineering required to dream up and design all that is necessary for spaceflight is amazing to me.

I have said before that Kennedy Space Center is a great place for engineers. Because a lot of engineers did a lot of great work, and they are still doing some great work, too.


Of course, none of those engineers could have achieved such great things as human spaceflight on their own. It took lots and lots of engineers with lots of different backgrounds to accomplish all of that. Some knew more about electronics, some knew more about propulsion, some knew more about aerodynamics, and so on. It took everyone working together to accomplish so much more than just one person could accomplish.

There is a downside to teamwork, too, as you probably know. When I was in school, I never did like group projects, because it seemed like there were always problems to overcome. The group was only as good as its weakest member. And there were always some in the group that expected everyone else to do all of the work. Not everyone pulled their weight. It was frustrating at times.

But if you ever got a good group where everyone worked together, then things went great. I had a couple of groups like that in college. We all had different strengths, and we took different parts of the project and got everything finished rather easily. It was fun! As much fun as a school project can be, anyway.

If you are trying to accomplish something, find some people to work with you to help carry the load. You might be able to do even more than you might have planned by bringing in others who know things that you don’t or who have different talents than you do.

Just as an example, I can do some creative-type things, but I often lack the ideas of what to do. Laura is really good at coming up with ideas, so she throws some out and I do my best to make them happen. We work together to come up with something better than either of us could do on our own. Just one example of that is our Christmas cards that we create every year. During this COVID-19 crisis, we came up with some new cards to send out, just some generic note cards that we can use for various occasions. Once again, it was Laura’s idea, and I just put it together. It was fun!

Find someone that you can work well with, and see what all fun you can have and what you can accomplish. Teamwork accomplishes much more than any one person can do.

Bible Verse

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4

About the Photo

This photo may be slightly more abstract than what you are used to seeing here. I did not have a lens with a wide enough angle to be able to get the entire rear end of Atlantis in one frame, because there was not room to back up far enough for the lens that I had. So I took this photo instead. And I thought it was pretty cool. Sometimes, getting a close-up view is better than seeing the whole thing, because you can see more details that way.

Right after I took this, the lights went down and the Space Shuttle was bathed in blue light for the next group that was just coming in. That looked pretty interesting, too. But for this presentation here, I liked the normal-light view.

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.