Monday, May 9, 2011

Atlas V rocket launch from the 'nude' beach

About 4 miles from the launch pad, I watched this Atlas V rocket lift off Saturday, May 7, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

I drove about 45 minutes to Canaveral National Seashore, a park that's popular among nudists. They have to break the law to be nude on this beach, though, so it's not a commonplace thing. Everyone was fully clothed when I was there.

Once I got to the beach, it was about 15 minutes before the 2:10 p.m. launch. In order to get as close as possible to launch pad 41, you have to walk about a mile southward to a fence that prevents people from entering the air station. Because the launch was near, I had to run that mile -- camera equipment in tow. Got there with several minutes to spare.

This rocket carried a $1.2 billion Space-Based Infrared System spacecraft, which will detect incoming missiles, into orbit.

This Atlas V flew without solid rocket boosters, so there was no immediate smoke trail. But this contrail did form once the rocket reached the high atmosphere, where cold air caused condensation.

No comments: