Stunning Photos of Last Shuttle Launch From Above

Shuttle Launch From Plane

Ryan Graff

Ryan Graff took this photo of space shuttle Atlantis' final launch from the window of a Southwest Airlines plane.

Space Shuttle Launch From Above

Ryan Graff

The trail from NASA's final space shuttle launch is visible in this picture taken out the window of a plane by Ryan Graff.

Atlantis Emerges from the Clouds

Quest for Stars

The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "@ the EXACT moment at KSC when Atlantis went in the clouds, we said--there it is! Our MCC @ KSC got both views!"

Atlantis, GO at Throttle up!

Quest for Stars

The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "Atlantis, GO at Throttle up!"

Hail Atlantis!

Quest for Stars

The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "And now for the good stuff we have been saving. HAIL ATLANTIS!"

Atlantis Flies in a Parabolic Arc

Quest for Stars

The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "Full Parabolic ARC and the exact moment of SRB SEB as timed by GPS on StratoShuttle-1"

Atlantis' Trail Decay in the Stratosphere

Quest for Stars

The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "One of the best parts of any Shuttle launch--shuttle trail decay in the stratosphere. U missed them we got 'em."

Shuttle Atlantis Liftoff Seen From Air

NASA/Dick Clark

Space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on the final shuttle mission.

Atlantis' Exhaust Plume Seen from Above

NASA/Dick Clark

The exhaust plume from space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.

Atlantis' Exhaust Plume Seen from Plane Window

NASA/Dick Clark

The exhaust plume from space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.

Atlantis' Exhaust Plume Extends into the Clouds

NASA/Dick Clark

The exhaust plume from space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.

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