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STS-122 Shuttle Mission Imagery
The STS-122 external fuel tank
high res (1.3 M) low res (42 K)
S122-E-005032 (7 Feb. 2008) --- Backdropped against the blackness of space, the STS-122 external fuel tank (ET) begins its relative separation from the Space Shuttle Atlantis. An STS-122 crewmember recorded the scene with a digital still camera. The fan-shaped bright area is the result of ET venting after orbiter separation. What happens in this nominal occurence is that the residual cryogenics in the tank heat up to some extent and the pressure increases, popping the relief valve. The residual LOX and LH2 spray out of the tank and are quite noticeable with the light reflection.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 11/13/2012
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