Blastoff! Most Amazing Rocket Launch Photos of 2011

Endeavour Soars Into Space on STS-134 Mission Pearlman

Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16 on its final flight — STS-134.

Endeavour launch seen from plane 1

Stefanie Gordon

Airline passenger Stefanie Gordon used an iPhone to snap this photo of the space shuttle Endeavour streaking toward space on May 16. Gordon was flying from New York to Palm Beach, Fla., aboard a Delta jet.

Soyuz TMA-02M Launches Expedition 28 to International Space Station


The Soyuz carrying NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa lifts off at 4:12 p.m. EDT (2012 GMT) on June 7, 2011.

Aquarius Launches

United Launch Alliance/William G. Hartenstein

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at 7:20 a.m. PDT, June 10, 2011, with the Aquarius/SAC-D observatory for NASA and the Space Agency of Argentina.

Lift-off of the Minotaur I Rocket Carrying the ORS-1 Satellite

NASA/Wallops Flight Facility

Lift-off of the Minotaur I rocket carrying the new ORS-1 satellite from the MARS 0B pad at Wallops Island, Va., on June 29, 2011.

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, 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!"

Soyuz 2 Rocket Launches Six New Globalstar Satellites on July 13, 2011

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

A Soyuz rocket launched at 8:27 a.m. local time on July 13, 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to carry six new Globalstar mobile communucations satellites into orbit.

Proton Rocket Launches Two Satellites — July 15, 2011

International Launch Services

A Russian Proton rocket launches two new satellites, the Kazaksat 2 and SES 3 satellites into space for commercial customers on July 15, 2011, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Delta 4 Rocket Blasts Off with GPS Satellite on July 16, 2011

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at 2:41 a.m. EDT on July 16, 2011, with the Air Force's Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-2 payload. This launch marks the 50th successful GPS launch on a Delta vehicle.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.