Reader pbump spliced together this fabulous video from NASA footage taken by the cameras mounted on Discovery's two solid rocket boosters. It took me a minute to figure out what was going on here, so let me help you get oriented a bit:
We're talking about the two big white rockets that sit on either side of the space shuttle's orange central fuel tank. Each of these rockets has two cameras. One points down (from launch orientation), looking at the nose of the space shuttle. The other points up, looking at the underside of Discovery's wings. All four cameras are represented in this video, with the down-facing ones (Right and Left Forward) in the top two squares, and the up-facing ones (Right and Left Aft) in the bottom squares.
You might think that the moment of launch would be the coolest part of this video. You'd be wrong. For maximum awesomeness, skip ahead to the point where the solid rocket boosters separate from the rest of the shuttle and fall back to Earth. There's some great shots of tumbling through the void of space, and some exciting scenes of splash-down that must not be missed.
Rob posted footage from one rocket booster camera on a launch last August, but I think this four-way full view adds some nice perspective.
UPDATE: This wasn't the last shuttle launch after all. Apologies. I hadn't seen the new flight plan. Headline is fixed.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.