Saturday, September 10, 2011

NASA's GRAIL Delta II rocket launch, on the rocks

United Launch Alliance sent NASA's GRAIL spacecraft toward the moon, where it will map the natural satellite's gravitational field. These spectators watching the Delta II Heavy rocket lift off apparently didn't read the sign.

The Delta II has long been my favorite rocket to watch lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Its pad, 17B, is the closest the general public can get to a launch: 2.9 miles from Jetty Park in Port Canaveral.

But Saturday morning's launch, at 9:08 a.m., was the last for a Delta II in Florida. Without the Delta II and the shuttle, I'm losing interest in the space program.

I briefly stepped into the water for a few shots.

The rocket started approaching the sun.

The rocket shed its solid-fuel boosters and cast a shadow on the mackerel sky.

People on the rocks shielded their eyes from the sun as they continued watching the flight.

Here's a video taken on my iPhone. I set it on my tripod and let it run while I took photos.

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