Friday, August 20, 2010

An Atlas V sunrise

Not able to travel northward to get closer to Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, I drove five minutes to the Indian River in northern Melbourne and snapped a few shots of the liftoff. An anhinga, a water bird similar to a cormorant, was perched in a pine tree in the foreground.

I hate early mornings. I've been working nights for more than three years now. I hate waking up on a schedule. Unless it's for golf. Or a rocket launch.

On Saturday, it was both.

I was set to leave my apartment around 7:15 a.m. for a tee time on a beautiful links course in St. Cloud, which is outside Brevard County lines. But before the hourlong trip to the state's center, an Atlas V rocket lifted off at 7:07 for the first time with three solid-fuel boosters. That made the craft leave a smoke trail as it swiftly lifted toward the heavens to deliver a military communications satellite.

It was the first launch from the Space Coast since the Falcon 9 test flight way back on June 4.

Because of thick, thorny, snake-infested brush between me and the river and because of the clothes I was wearing -- shorts and sandals -- I could not get close to the water. I know; I'm a wimp.

Remnants of the contrail linger 15 minutes after the sun rose. The launch was successful.

No rocket here, just the sun: one last photo before the golf trip.

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