NASA broadcasts out of this world pictures

TV viewers around the world were given a whole new perspective on space shuttle launches on Monday when a camera mounted on an orbiter's external tank fed live pictures of a blast-off back to Earth.

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By  Marcus Webb Published  October 8, 2002

TV viewers around the world were given a whole new perspective on space shuttle launches on Monday when a camera mounted on an orbiter's external tank fed live pictures of a blast-off back to Earth.

The space shuttle Atlantis launched with a US$760,000 camera system mounted to the outside of the orange external tank and pointed straight down on the shuttle’s nose.

The shuttlecam, provided by the US company Ecliptic Enterprises, gave a clear view of the Kennedy Space Center disappearing into the distance for about a minute of the Atlantis shuttle's eight-and-a-half-minute ride into orbit.

Although these type of rocketcams have previously flown on unmanned Delta, Atlas and Titan boosters, this was the first footage of a space shuttle entering orbit taken from the outside looking back.

"This will be the first time we've tried it with the shuttle and we've very optimistic about getting some pretty dramatic video going up hill," said lead flight director Phil Engelauf prior to the launch.

Footage from the launch can be viewed online at www.space.com.

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