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Pluto or bust!

We were transported to a different launch viewing area today because of a wind direction that would have blown particles to us at the Banana Creek viewing area. Instead, buses took us to KARS Park, a beach area five miles south of Launch Pad 41, where we were told we wouldn't be able to see the rocket until it rose above the trees. (A couple behind me on the bus experienced all five stages of the Kübler-Ross model upon hearing this news.) Fortunately, that part was wrong: if we ventured out onto the pier—which hundreds of us did—we had an even better view of the waiting rocket than we'd had on Tuesday, due probably to a combination of lack of intervening trees from this direction and maybe the sun angle.

After a few more holds due to the cloud cover—launch control wants to have a clear view of the ascending rocket in case anything goes wrong—the moment finally arrived. Here are my pictures.

We promptly hopped back on the buses and returned to Kennedy Space Center, where those with more time could watch a video feed of launch vehicle separation. I headed straight for the exit and sped to the airport in time for my flight home.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
What proof do we have that you didn't just shoot pictures of a bottle rocket taking off on the far side of a pool which so happened to have a 1/50 scale launch facility model on the far side? =P

Jan. 20th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
Shhh! You're not supposed to know about that! :)
Jan. 20th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
Hurrah for launch!
Jan. 20th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC)
I was very happy to hear that it launched successfully. Great pictures! %D
Jan. 20th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)

I'm sure all these weather delays must have been making you nervous as to whether the launch would take place while you were in Florida. I'm glad the probe finally went up and you were there to see it. Everyone in my lab was watching the launch on NASA TV, hoping everything would go well.

Will you be involved in commissioning or operations? If not, what's next for you?

-Daniel, VA3KKZ
Jan. 20th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Congratulations
I won't be involved in commissioning or operations. I'm still testing some of the ground software for the mission. After that, who knows?
Jan. 20th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
w00t! Congratulations on a successful launch! (Yes, I know you weren't too involved in that phase, but I'm glad the probe is on its way.)

Will you be involved in the data collection phase? Do you have to wait a decade, or will there be readings in the meantime?

And did you have to do an environmental impact study on Jupiter for slowing its orbit ever so slightly? [grin]
Jan. 20th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
I won't be involved in the data collection phase. The science instruments will be turned on at least for checkout before it gets to Pluto, so we don't have to wait a whole decade—it was already downlinking telemetry about its various systems yesterday.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )