March 2001.    Page 1 of 3

As invited guests to the launch and return of NASA Flight STS-102 in March 2001 we have had numerous requests to see the photos that we brought back. I have finally found time to post them on my web site.

We were in the USA for a month all up, and covering around 10,000 km. We flew into Los Angeles then to Houston via Phoenix, where we stayed for several days before traveling by car around the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Canaveral, Florida to see the launch. 

We stayed at the Cape for four days before returning via Pensacola and visiting the National Museum of Naval Aviation. We then went up and stayed at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on to Shreveport, Louisiana, then back to JSC at Houston to see the ISS and STS-102 crews return at Ellington Airfield.

For our return trip to Los Angeles from Houston we decided to take the  train, traveling  through San Antonio, El Paso, and Tucson.

In all I can only say that we were overwhelmed  by the reception we received right throughout our trip from the staff at NASA, and all the Hams that we met and stayed with.  Amateur Radio is truly an international hobby and this trip would never eventuated if I wasn't one of them , thanks to all.

I have picked a few  highlights of our trip out for all to see,  hope they are of interest. Regards Tony. VK5ZAI


Saturn V rocket at JSC Houston. Standing looking at it, one wonders how they ever got them off the ground. Note the size of the people standing to the left.

STS-102 on pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Centre 18 hrs. before launch. The launch was at 6:45 am local time on 8th March 2001 just before sunrise.

Blast off from 3.5 miles away. Note the shadow above the tail leaves from the rising sun below.

Jim, K5JAZ and Jill with Discovery in background the day before the launch.  Jim took two weeks off work to drive us from Houston to Cape Canaveral then back to Shreveport his home town, via Vicksburg 


Jill and I with  Bill (Shep) Shepherd at "The Outpost" two days after his return to Houston after spending four months as commander of the International Space Station "Alpha". 

Shep insisted on showing us around "The Outpost" and  giving us the history on the photos and memorabilia on the walls of past flights.

Photo courtesy NASA, Bill Engalls


Andy Thomas and myself  at the official reception for the  STS-102 and ISS crews return at Ellington Airfield, JSC. Houston

Gill and Adrian Thomas ( Andy's father ) with Discovery in the background being readied for launch the following morning.

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