Tuesday, November 19

T Minus 10 Seconds and Counting..........

Haloed Moon

  This evening, as the halo of the moon kept my camera's and my focus, the Minotaur I satellite was priming for launch from the NASA Wallops Island facility.  Near Chincoteague, VA, the rocket sets a record of delivering 29 satellites (28 cubesats and 2 non-separating tertiary payloads) into LEO, or Low Earth Orbit.

Minotaur Ascends with Stage Separation

  The orange glow of the rockets illuminated through the trees and passed above the oak as we watched from ESO Mission Control.  As it followed a graceful arc, I could see the separation of the stages as they peeled away from the rocket, briefly illuminated by the fiery thrust.

Accelerating to the Heavens

   As the Orbital Sciences rocket accelerated out of view, I am reminded of a quote from Alan Shepard:

 "It's a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one's safety was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract""

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