Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A new star in the sky. #OA6 #Cygnus off to #ISS via #AtlasV @ULAlaunch @OrbitalATK @NASA @NASAKennedy

With less than one minute until launch, the rooftop of OSB-II fell silent. A few awkward funny noises were made followed by giggles, because after all there are high school experiments in this cargo vessel to the International Space Station. After the rocket cleared the tower, there were sighs of relief and lots of cheering from scientists, politicians, technologists, rocketeers and their families watching their payloads lift off into space. The cheering continued with remarks like "wow" and "it's so bright!" It almost looked like the rocket was curving towards us in an optical illusion as it climbed higher and higher and towards the North. Its orbital trajectory took it over the Atlantic Ocean and from our perspective look like it was starting to go downwards. Overall a beautiful arc in a fairly clear sky. The engines flickered out and it was in space, a new star in the sky, and a new satellite orbiting Earth bound to resupply the space station. I saw friends from +Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)+Made In Space, +University of Central Florida, and +NASA volunteers. Thank you +NanoRacks and DreamUp for hosting +Space Florida at this launch! Congratulations to United Launch Alliance and +Orbital ATK on a successful launch!

Arcing up and then away to the chase the +International Space Station
I took a pit stop on the way to OSB-II on the NASA Causeway. It was like a Batman beacon signaling into the night.

The official stats:
March 22/23Atlas 5 • OA-6
Launch window: 0305:51-0335 GMT on 23rd (11:05:51-11:35 p.m. EDT (on 22nd)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-064, will launch the sixth Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo freighter on its fifth operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The mission is known as OA-6. The rocket will fly in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from March 10 and March 20. [March 20]

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