This image was taken in 1994 by NASA/Dennis Taylor. It remains mesmerizing to this day.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, mated to NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), takes to the air for its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft, with a crew of six, was launched into a 57-degree high inclination orbit from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 3:23 p.m., 9 September 1994. The mission featured the study of clouds and the atmosphere with a laser beaming system called Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), and the first untethered space walk in ten years. A Spartan satellite was also deployed and later retrieved in the study of the sun’s corona and solar wind. The mission was scheduled to end Sunday, 18 September, but was extended one day to continue science work. Bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center on 19 September, forced a one-day delay to September 20, with a weather divert that day to Edwards. Mission commander was Richard Richards, the pilot Blaine Hammond, while mission specialists were Jerry Linenger, Susan Helms, Carl Meade, and Mark Lee.