Friday, March 13, 2015

My Husband's First Launch - The Bright Beauty

Those who live on the Space Coast or near another active spaceport know all to well that rocket launch schedules are notoriously unset. Launches can be delayed for technical reasons to do with the rocket, the payload, or the range or launch infrastructure. Launches can be delayed for nontechnical reasons such as the weather or a stray boat being where it shouldn't be. Unless the plans you're making are very flexible, never make plans around a scheduled rocket launch. Especially flights.

I missed the last SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on March 1 despite being in Florida. My flight arrived into the Orlando Airport half an hour before launch, but taking into account the plane de-boarding process and the time it takes to walk outside, I just missed it. I viewed the live webstream on my phone instead. It looked like a beautiful launch!

My husband's flight arrived late last night into Orlando. I opted for curb-side pick-up rather than parking to speed up the process of us getting out of there. Still, we made it to our home on the coast with 10 minutes to spare, no time to drive closer to the Cape. I live over half an hour south from the launch pads, so my backyard isn't the closest location, but it's not too bad either. To the backyard we went!

The ULA Atlas V went up flawlessly, as usual. This was my husband's first witnessing of a rocket launch. He thought it was beautiful. He said it was brighter than he expected. The bright circle at the top of the photo is not a full moon, that's the rocket. Night launches are my favorite; they are artificial sunrises. I promised him that we'll see the next launch from much closer where he can really see the shape of the rocket and hear the roar of the engines. We still heard the faint roar last night, enough to make me smile. I love living on the Space Coast!

The mission of the payload is pretty cool as well. NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission will study Earth's magnetosphere and the interaction with the solar wind. Awesome!

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