Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#MUOS3 launch on #AtlasV from the ITL Causeway

A spectacular night launch once again (really, can a night launch suck?) and I watched with my friend Ryan from the CCAFS ITL Causeway. I have to admit that I didn't read up on the launch before hand, but I did know there were 5 solid rockets in this Atlas configuration. This was the 31st launch since Jen and I moved to Florida in Sept. 2012, 28 of which I've watched (29 if you include hearing it in the middle of the night).

I'm pretty happy about this fluke exposure during the launch countdown and I inadvertently learned a zoom trick for focusing the lens. 
This is a composite of two 30-second exposures overlaid on a dark exposure. Playing with the filters, this one stood out as a fire bird heading to space.
The rocket is actually heading towards the bottom of the image. Orion is in the top right corner. There are three 30-second exposures overlaid.

The official stats:
Jan. 20/21Atlas 5 • MUOS 3
Launch time: 0043-0127 GMT on 21st (7:43-8:27 p.m. EST on 20th)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-052, will launch the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will provide narrowband tactical communications designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move. The rocket will fly in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. [Jan. 12]

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