Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#MUOS4 Spectacular launch with angelic contrails on #AtlasV

A spectacular launch! Even though all I had to do was roll out of bed and push down my remote for my camera, I was still up early, even before the baby. The launch was super bright and nice and slow. I was listening to the launch control center and got a very good play by play. The rocket reached Mach 1 and MaxQ right before it passed over our viewable area on our balcony. I heard that the solid rockets had separated and ran across the condo. The rest of the launch gazing was spectacular! White angle-like strands of contrails were coming off the rocket, almost like a comet. What a view of the Atlas V rocket and the MUOS-4 payload as the upper stage burned in the sunrise. Nice launch United Launch Alliance!

The spine of the rocket launch. A magical contrail that was lit up by the morning sunrise approaching. It is called a Twilight phenomena. A colleague said it looks like an underwater creature. I guess it's a 'space Rorschach' image!
The angelic contrail could be seen from as far away as South Carolina. It was amazing.
Here's the standard rocket contrail, but it was really the upper atmosphere show that was magical.

The official stats:
Sept. 2 Atlas 5   •  MUOS 4
Launch time: 1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
Launch site:SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-056, launched the fourth 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 flew in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 13, Aug. 20, Aug. 27 and Aug. 31. Read our full story. [Sept. 2]


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