July 14, 2011
White Sands National Monument (Park) is easily recognized in the center of this near-vertical photograph, captured with a 70mm camera by one of the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during the STS-108 mission. White Sands is the world's largest gypsum dune field. It represents an alabaster sea that covers nearly 300 square miles. On NASA's third Space Shuttle mission (STS-3) astronauts Jack R. Lousma and C. Gordon Fullerton were unable to land Columbia in either California or Florida, so they landed at the Northrup Strip at the White Sands Missile Range. At the southwest corner of the White Sands is Lake Lucero. Center point coordinates are 33.0 degrees north latitude and 106.5 degrees west longitude.
Topics: Human spaceflight, Spaceflight, Space exploration, White Sands Missile Range, White Sands National Monument, C. Gordon Fullerton, STS-3, STS-1, Jack R. Lousma, Space Shuttle, Manned spacecraft, Space Shuttle program