Monday, February 8, 2010

Space Shuttle Launch

I am taking a class in Florida, and was disappointed that the space shuttle launch was to happen the morning of my arrival. To my benefit, it was delayed by 1 day due to weather, so early this morning I was able to watch the space shuttle launch with the naked eye with clear skies. I am staying in Orlando, which is about a 45 min drive away, and because of the early morning class, I did not make the drive to get a closer view. Instead, I got the Nasa TV feed on my laptop, and observed from a distance. I also discovered that the Nasa TV feed is delayed by about 30 Seconds.

The light clouds in the distance changed colors as the light from the ground changed, and I began to see streaking fireball souring into the sky. It was pretty awesome to see for myself, watching the flame dissipate behind the rockets as they achieved their altitude. I was able to identify the Aux Rocket separation by the change on intensity of the light, and color, then the 2 yellow colored dots gently falling towards their landing zone about 160 miles offshore. I watched the shuttle until it was no longer visible due to obstructions near the horizon, which was about the time in their flight that they could abort land into Italy.
After the booster separation, I did notice a bit of a direction change to the North East, and the light intensity looked similar to my viewing of the ISS with a 3.5 Magnitude. Binoculars would have been a good thing to have, but I didn’t know about the shuttle delay until I was on my plane, and I didn’t have a small camera with good resolution to even bother with a picture. My counterpart did snap a picture with his 8MP camera phone. I’ll check that later.

I am glad I got up to view this, now I am going back to bed.......