When the Shuttle Endeavour
launched on May 16th on STS-134 mission commanded by Mark Kelly (husband of Senator Gabby Giffords) there were clouds at 5000 feet, and the clouds were at least 500 feet thick. People on ground could see the Shuttle for only 22 seconds before it vanished into the clouds.
NASA's last Shuttle launch of "ENDEAVOR" from KSC was on 5-16-2011. This is a photo of the LAST shuttle launch for this workhorse for NASA, from the best seat in the house... an F-15E Strike Eagle at 26 thousand feet above the clouds over the east coast of Florida flying protective combat air patrol for the launch. You can see the F-15's wingman (believe the warbirds are out of Seymore Johnson AFB in North Carolina) to the right and the Shuttle Endeavour
piercing the cloud cover in the extreme lower left of the picture. Had a friend email me this pic, definitely a what you would call a"birds eye" view of the last historic launch of Endeavour
. Shuttle Atlantis
flew for the last time in Mid July ending forever the Shuttle program and retiring the fleet after 30 years of service.