Rocket Launch Equals Nerdfest

LADEE_w_flareFor the most part I’m thrilled to be a Cali-guy now. Tonight is an exception. There was a nerdfest this evening with the launch of the LADEE mission from Wallops Island, Virginia. It was promoted as being visible from New England. It was!

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well.

Most people don’t realize we have launch facilities other than Cape Canaveral. There’s Vandenberg out here on the West Coast, White Sands in New Mexico and Wallops Island.

ladee_launch-TVI can’t remember anything large enough to reach the Moon taking off from Wallops before. It’s usually used for upper atmosphere probes.

Because the launch was aimed to the northeast and took place at night (and a clear night at that) it was easily viewed. I don’t think anyone looking needed prompting to know when they were actually looking at LADEE. It was unmistakable.

I went on Facebook to ask who saw it?

Michael Cody Saw it in Shelton!! You could see a reddish flying dot, little orange trail, and the smoke trail. Pretty cool to watch.

Jim Maher saw it in Derby…it was great streaking across the sky!

Joshua Saari It really gives a better idea of just how fast they move. Amazing.

Mike Gagnon Did in Waterford! Higher in the sky than I thought

Allen Horner I saw it launch on the laptop and rise in the night sky. Beautiful.

Glenn Celentano I watched it. Had a great view from the hilltop in Derby. Was able to follow it for about :40. You could clearly see the rocket booster glowing orange.

There were lots more comments, but this gives you an idea of the impact something like this has.

When I was on TV giving a heads up on events like this was part of my fun. I always heard back after folks followed my advice and just looked up!

Somewhere in the Northeast tonight, someone took a child out to watch–a child who has now been bitten by science.

Nerdy is good.

3 thoughts on “Rocket Launch Equals Nerdfest”

  1. Didn’t see it… 🙁 Perhaps we were too late to the party. But I did want to say that we had a great visit at the Wallops Island NASA facility when we went to Chincoteague a few years ago. Didn’t even know the facility was there until we drove past it. A fun place to stop and visit.

  2. Many of us watched it at the Connecticut Star Party. By the time it cleared the trees it was already burning the second stage. We saw stage separation and the entire length of the second stage burn. It wasn’t as dramatic as the launch of STS-128, but it was still very interesting.

  3. I am really bummed out, because I missed it—The weather guy on Ch 4 mentioned it on Thursday, I think and just said that it would be going up late Friday night —that’s a big help.
    Today’s newspaper (Saturday) die a whole article on it and stated it would be going up on Friday at 11:27PM. Now I was really confused, having missed the newscasts both Friday afternoon (5PM-6:30)probably the 11PM Friday. I can’t believe the Wbry paper didn’t have it in til after the fact–but what can you expect when all the printing is done in Massachusetts, now—Anyhow–it was lovely and clear on Friday night—and it should have been a great sight! OH well!

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