Author Topic: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread  (Read 25110 times)

Online AJW

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SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« on: 08/05/2013 05:59 PM »
With the SpaceX CASSIOPE NET approaching, I would like recommendations for public viewing of this launch at Vandenberg.  Suggestions for best views, avoiding traffic, parking, restaurants, accommodations, experience with cell data coverage, etc.   This launch is also an opportunity for NSF contributors and lurkers to meet and that can be organized here.

For starters, here are a few external links I have found.

Viewing Vandenberg Rocket and Missile Launches
http://www.spacearchive.info/vafbview.htm

GoogleMaps Vandenberg Launch Pads & Viewing Locations
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110826783807456856142.000490cd3c98fc966846d

Vandenberg’s website on the topic
http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/questions/topic.asp?id=745

Looks like the Vandenberg Golf Course is also a prime viewing location, but you need a NASA invitation.

Please keep this thread focused on items related to traveling to and viewing the launch, and use these following threads as appropriate.

"SpaceX GENERAL Forum Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=45.0 - please use this for general questions NOT specific to SpX-3.

SpaceX MISSIONS Forum Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=55.0 - this section is for everything specific to SpaceX missions.

SpaceX News Articles from 2006 (Including numerous exclusive Elon interviews):
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21862.0

SpaceX CASSIOPE Processing, Updates:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31429.0

SpaceX News Articles (Recent):
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/spacex/

And for L2 Members, the superb:
L2 SpaceX Section:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=tags&tags=SpaceX
« Last Edit: 08/06/2013 03:26 AM by Andy USA »

Online AJW

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #1 on: 08/27/2013 04:33 PM »
Looking for input on the best CASSIOPE viewing site. 

SLC-4E is not marked on this map, but it is the complex of 4 dots just west of the red #3 label for SLC-3.    Surf Beach appears to be about 3 miles North of the launch site and there is even an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train that will drop you off there from San Luis Obispo.

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110826783807456856142.000490cd3c98fc966846d

I spotted this article which indicates that Surf Beach is closed until the end of September.

http://santamariatimes.com/news/local/military/vandenberg/surf-beach-closes-as-violations-go-over/article_2cfcf628-cce3-11e2-9098-001a4bcf887a.html

Offline Gary NASA

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #2 on: 08/28/2013 11:14 PM »
I hear they are not going to webcast this launch, so this is your only chance to see it.

Offline Lars_J

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #3 on: 08/28/2013 11:24 PM »
Source?

Online QuantumG

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #4 on: 08/28/2013 11:26 PM »
You heard wrong.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline mr. mark

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #5 on: 08/30/2013 02:57 PM »
Some of us here have seen the picture of the 9v1.1 and the Delta IV Heavy launch. Can average joe types actually watch the launch from that location? Where is it?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomcatphotography1/9625736164/
« Last Edit: 08/30/2013 02:59 PM by mr. mark »

Offline Lars_J

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #6 on: 08/30/2013 03:19 PM »
Some of us here have seen the picture of the 9v1.1 and the Delta IV Heavy launch. Can average joe types actually watch the launch from that location? Where is it?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomcatphotography1/9625736164/

The photo location was triangulated pretty well in this post: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31429.msg1090351#msg1090351

It appears to be inside the boundary of the air force base, so it is unlikely to be open to the public. (And since the SpaceX pad is even closer to that point, it may even be a no-go area for anyone during the F9v1.1 launch)
« Last Edit: 08/30/2013 03:20 PM by Lars_J »

Offline mr. mark

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #7 on: 08/30/2013 03:44 PM »
Looking at the picture a close proximity is W. Ocean ave. might be a good location?

Online AJW

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #8 on: 08/30/2013 04:35 PM »
I emailed the photographer and he is credentialed and the photo was taken on base.  He also provided some suggestions on viewing locations. 

"...As far as public viewing locations for the Falcon 9 launch, it really all depends on the marine layer situation. We got very lucky with this launch, because usually during the spring/summer months, the marine layer parks itself over the coast, and sometimes will make it quite far inland. If it is clear, I would advise either taking Highway 246 as far as possible toward the beach. You won't be able to see the rocket on the pad, but you will see it about two seconds after liftoff when it comes up over the hill there. You could also pull off the side of the road on Highway 1 as you head toward Vandenberg's Main Gate. It's a little bit further away, but there, you have line-of-sight view of the pad. The viewing area the base provides for the public is on Corral Rd. On Vandenberg's Facebook page, they mention that place. Sometimes, they even have speakers set up there to monitor the countdown, and if I recall, I believe that area has a view of the pad as well.

Now, if it is foggy, I would advise Harris Grade Rd. That is about 12 miles away from the pad, but that is usually a good spot to get away from the marine layer. I am lucky enough to have credentials to access Vandenberg, so for viewing this particular launch, I was actually on base."


I also have a message into Vandenberg asking about access to Surf Beach away from the Snowy Plover nests, but no reply yet.

Offline hartspace

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #9 on: 08/30/2013 07:39 PM »
If you don't mind not seeing the rocket come directly off the pad, Renwick Ave., off of Hwy 246, is probably the closest you can get off the base.  Great for Atlas launches.  You would probably see the rocket from SLC-4 a couple of hundred feet in the air when it becomes visible.  Harris Grade Road is probably the best place to see if the marine layer is in.  I haven't been to Corral Road, so I can't speak to the view from there.  Moonglow Road in Vandenberg Village (west side of Hwy 1) should also give a good view, if the residents don't mind some extra visitors.

Surf Beach is closed due to the endangered birds nesting on the beach.  Somewhat surprisingly, it sounded like they also closed the Surf Amtrak station for NROL-65, which would be a great view of SLC-4.  If they closed it for that one, I'd assume it would be closed for Falcon as well.  I used to watch SLC-4 launches from that area back in the 80s (at least before the April 1986 Titan explosion).

Online Jimmy_C

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #10 on: 09/05/2013 11:47 PM »
I've only seen the space shuttle launch once in person, and that was when I was a kid... I just moved to LA less than a year ago, so this seems like a good opportunity. However, I don't know how to proceed to watch the upcoming SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch.

Does one just show up to the beach/side of the road to watch? When is the launch? How early should one get, and how long should one stay around (before it might be postponed)?

Please forgive all of the questions.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #11 on: 09/09/2013 06:53 PM »
Check out the astronomer's forecast at Clear Dark Sky http://cleardarksky.com/csk/
Search for Vandenberg Village. This location is 5 miles inland from VAFB.
The Cloud Cover, Transparency, and Seeing forecasts can be useful - even for daytime.

BTW, this is for the weather forecast, not a potential viewing site. Sorry for any confusion.
« Last Edit: 09/09/2013 07:49 PM by gchockry »

Offline wbarnes

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #12 on: 09/12/2013 02:14 AM »
Hi, I live north of VAFB in the San Francisco area. Any chance I might be able to see at least a contrail way off in the distance? If so, what will be Falcon 9's flight path?

Thanks,
Walter

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #13 on: 09/12/2013 02:16 AM »
Hi, I live north of VAFB in the San Francisco area. Any chance I might be able to see at least a contrail way off in the distance? If so, what will be Falcon 9's flight path?

Thanks,
Walter

It will be going south

Offline wbarnes

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #14 on: 09/12/2013 02:42 AM »
Thanks Jim, that's what I kinda figured... South would keep it over water but North would not.

Offline cordyc

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #15 on: 09/12/2013 04:48 PM »
A good place to view is Providence Landing Park in Vandenberg Village, just a block from Moonglow which is also a good spot if Surf Beach is closed.  You can't see the pad but will see it shortly after take off.  The heading will be about 244 to see it and it will be about 9 miles away according to Photographers Ephemeris.

Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #16 on: 09/12/2013 09:14 PM »
For the Falcon launch the best place, barring low altitude fog, is the south gate base entrance on Ocean Avenue.  It is 3.8 miles from the pad.  This is where I have gone consistently for Atlas launches (2.5 miles from the pad).  You can just park in the visitors parking lot right next to the guard shack.  Although, really, anywhere around this area along Ocean Avenue would be fine as long as there aren't any viewing obstructions.

For launches like these that are from pads on the south base, don't bother with the Corral Rd viewing area or Vandenberg Village or the golf course.  Those are OK for Delta II launches, but otherwise only useful as a last resort to get above the fog layer (assuming the fog doesn't extend up too high). 

Those handful of miles difference really are the difference between an overwhelming experience (scorching bright light, feeling shaking in your bones) and an "eh, that was interesting" experience.

P.S. I went to the Santa Ynez Peak once for a Delta II launch many years ago.  The experience of driving up there is TERRIBLE unless they have extensively repaired the road since then.  It is so far away as to be rather underwhelming for launch viewing.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2013 09:58 PM by DaveJes1979 »

Offline titanmiller

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #17 on: 09/15/2013 10:01 PM »
I read in a USA Today article that this launch will not be televised or streamed online in any fashion. Will we really have to wait however many days for SpaceX to release a video to Youtube?

Offline mheney

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #18 on: 09/15/2013 10:35 PM »
I read in a USA Today article that this launch will not be televised or streamed online in any fashion. Will we really have to wait however many days for SpaceX to release a video to Youtube?

They didn't include the phrase "by NASA" in there, did they?  My understanding is that SpaceX will be streaming the launch; but I wouldn't expect NASA to televise of stream it themselves...

Offline titanmiller

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #19 on: 09/15/2013 11:48 PM »
I read in a USA Today article that this launch will not be televised or streamed online in any fashion. Will we really have to wait however many days for SpaceX to release a video to Youtube?

They didn't include the phrase "by NASA" in there, did they?  My understanding is that SpaceX will be streaming the launch; but I wouldn't expect NASA to televise of stream it themselves...

"Even more than the new rocket, the mission, which will not be televised or webcast, may be most eagerly watched for its experiment with technology that SpaceX and supporters believe will revolutionize the industry."

USA TODAY

Offline mlindner

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #20 on: 09/16/2013 12:53 AM »
I read in a USA Today article that this launch will not be televised or streamed online in any fashion. Will we really have to wait however many days for SpaceX to release a video to Youtube?

They didn't include the phrase "by NASA" in there, did they?  My understanding is that SpaceX will be streaming the launch; but I wouldn't expect NASA to televise of stream it themselves...

"Even more than the new rocket, the mission, which will not be televised or webcast, may be most eagerly watched for its experiment with technology that SpaceX and supporters believe will revolutionize the industry."

USA TODAY

I would guess they misconstrued something. There are other inaccuracies in the post that show they don't have current information. Like "Targeting a liftoff this week from a refurbished pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,"
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Online AJW

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #21 on: 09/17/2013 04:28 PM »

If the launch is on or after the 30th, that is reportedly the date that Surf Beach should reopen.

http://www.ksby.com/news/surf-beach-closes-for-rest-of-summer-to-protect-snowy-plovers/


Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #22 on: 09/26/2013 10:54 PM »
I need to modify what I previously posted here.  The south gate is still a viable option, but I would recommend heading as far west on Ocean Avenue as you possibly can.  I don't know where they will block off access to the public, but there is a fair chance that Surf Beach will be open for launch viewing as was the case for the Delta IV launches.  Even if the beach is closed *for recreational activities*, but should still be available for launch viewing.

The only snag is that F9's pad is closer than the Delta IV pad, only 3.5 miles from Surf Beach.  So I don't know for certain whether they will allow spectators at Surf Beach given the closer proximity.  That pad hasn't been used since the Titan days, so we will have to find out for sure on Sunday morning.

Offline neilh

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #23 on: 09/27/2013 01:10 AM »
Hi, I live north of VAFB in the San Francisco area. Any chance I might be able to see at least a contrail way off in the distance? If so, what will be Falcon 9's flight path?

Thanks,
Walter

It will be going south

Will the trajectory will be visible from the LA area?
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Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #24 on: 09/27/2013 06:07 AM »
I read in a USA Today article that this launch will not be televised or streamed online in any fashion. Will we really have to wait however many days for SpaceX to release a video to Youtube?

The launch WILL be webcast on Livestream.

http://new.livestream.com/spacex/F9-6
« Last Edit: 09/27/2013 06:08 AM by docmordrid »
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Offline blazotron

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #25 on: 09/27/2013 01:18 PM »
Hi, I live north of VAFB in the San Francisco area. Any chance I might be able to see at least a contrail way off in the distance? If so, what will be Falcon 9's flight path?

Thanks,
Walter

It will be going south

Will the trajectory will be visible from the LA area?

The trajectory will be in your field of view if you have unobstructed view, but in daylight without solids it may be difficult to see.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2013 01:18 PM by blazotron »

Offline blazotron

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #26 on: 09/27/2013 01:19 PM »
Anyone planning to be in the Lompoc area and like to try to meet up before or after launch?

Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #27 on: 09/27/2013 05:01 PM »
Per a chat with a Vandenberg PAO, Surf Beach and Station will be closed for this launch.

Online AJW

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #28 on: 09/27/2013 06:30 PM »
Per a chat with a Vandenberg PAO, Surf Beach and Station will be closed for this launch.

Thanks for the info...   I had left a message but hadn't gotten a reply.

Offline neilh

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #29 on: 09/27/2013 06:31 PM »
Hi, I live north of VAFB in the San Francisco area. Any chance I might be able to see at least a contrail way off in the distance? If so, what will be Falcon 9's flight path?

Thanks,
Walter

It will be going south

Will the trajectory will be visible from the LA area?

The trajectory will be in your field of view if you have unobstructed view, but in daylight without solids it may be difficult to see.

Thanks!
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Offline DaveJes1979

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #30 on: 09/27/2013 10:53 PM »
Judging by old new stories, it appears Surf Beach is typically closed for launch viewing for Atlas launches, so I'm not surprised that they will close it for Falcon 9.  It is anyone's guess where they will put up a roadblock, just head as far west as you can down Ocean Avenue.  But don't be disappointed if the South Gate is the best one can do, it is still awful close to the pad as the crow flies, although you won't be able to see the rocket until a few seconds after liftoff.

However, I'm not sure that there is such a thing as an unobstructed view of the rocket of the pad that is close to the pad, I'm not even sure Surf Beach is unobstructed.  One has to go far away, to the Corral Rd. viewing area (10.6 miles) or Harris Grade Rd if one insists on seeing the rocket on the pad.  Then you need a telephoto lens or binoculars, and even then it still might be significantly obstructed.

Offline Antares

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #31 on: 09/28/2013 03:37 AM »
The 30th SW said Surf Beach was closed on their Facebook page around noon today.  No need for calls to PAO, just like them.

https://www.facebook.com/30thSpaceWing
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Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #32 on: 09/28/2013 10:47 PM »
Anyone planning to be in the Lompoc area and like to try to meet up before or after launch?

Viewing is forecast to be good (clear and transparent), so I'm planning on making the 200 mile drive there from the Bay Area. Beforehand, I will be scouting out West Ocean Avenue between 13th Street and Renwick Avenue. Perhaps a meet up afterwards?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #33 on: 09/28/2013 11:27 PM »
I'm driving down too and I'm interested in meeting up.

Offline cosmonautdjp

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #34 on: 09/29/2013 02:40 PM »
I found a pull off just north of the penitentiary.  It's a great view!

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #35 on: 09/29/2013 03:14 PM »
Weather is perfectly clear. Nice view from my spot 3 miles away.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #36 on: 09/29/2013 03:20 PM »
my spot. west ocean and renwick.

Offline neilh

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #37 on: 09/29/2013 05:01 PM »
Here was the view of the launch from my balcony in South Pasadena (taken on my cell and zoomed in, so not highest quality). It was pretty cool watching the livestream on my TV and seeing it out my window at the same time. :)
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Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #38 on: 09/30/2013 10:50 PM »
Here are video stills of the launch from the public's perspective. Viewed from West Ocean Ave, two-thirds of the way from the VAFB Arguello Blvd/13th St entrance to Renwick Ave. About 4 miles from SLC-4E. Please enjoy!

Liftoff! Appearing into view from behind hills. Thrust flames first visible.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #39 on: 09/30/2013 10:52 PM »
Liftoff! Entire rocket and thrust flame emerges into view.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #40 on: 09/30/2013 10:55 PM »
Zoomed view of Spacex F9 v1.1 / MDA Cassiope just above hills.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #41 on: 09/30/2013 10:58 PM »
Approaching Mach 1. Just past Max Q. Contrail develops.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #42 on: 09/30/2013 11:01 PM »
Stage 1 continues to burn. New faint contrail develops.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #43 on: 09/30/2013 11:03 PM »
MECO!

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #44 on: 09/30/2013 11:05 PM »
Stage 1 Separation. Enhanced correction to see Stage 2 (dot ahead of contrail).

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #45 on: 09/30/2013 11:07 PM »
Stage 1 Separation continues. Enhanced correction to see Stage 2 (white dot further ahead of contrail).

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #46 on: 09/30/2013 11:10 PM »
Stage 2 continues. Enhance correction to see Stage 2 (white dot further along).

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #47 on: 09/30/2013 11:12 PM »
Stage 2 Ignition! Enhance correction to see Stage 2 thrust (white ring).

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #48 on: 09/30/2013 11:15 PM »
Contrails and shadow. Contrail and Moon. Smoke from launch pad.

Offline gchockry

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Re: SpaceX CASSIOPE Launch Viewing Thread
« Reply #49 on: 10/02/2013 06:44 AM »
Check out my video of the Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 with CSA/MDA Cassiope as viewed from Vandenberg Air Force Base, West Ocean Avenue.



Available in various resolutions including 720p and 1080p HD
Turn up the volume to experience the Roar and Crackle, 4 to 5 mile travel-time delay.
Sorry for the length (6:30 minutes). I wanted to include the total experience and tell a story.

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