Friday, June 10, 2011

Aquarius is a Satellite!

This morning the rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the Aquarius satellite I've been going on about for so long. It was delayed a day but took off today despite a dense fog hugging the Pacific Coast. My friend in Lompoc said he heard it but couldn't see a thing.

I watched it live on NASA TV. The air was so saturated with water they were running windshield wipers on the tower cam. The different cameras had different auto-iris reactions to the sudden increase in exposure. The second camera that made it look all glowing and orangey, then they switched cameras and then it was just gone in the fog. They switched immediately to a animation. In fact the whole thing was so fast I decided to screenshot the best bits from the video for you and make a slideshow.

They came back on the air after the 40 minutes of coasting. There was a 12 second burn on the second stage engine then separation. That damn satellite had video telemetry of the spacecraft separation! I've never seen that before. There was much rejoicing in the control room.

NASA photo of the day, Aquarius liftoff!

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