Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 v. 1.1 - Jason 3 - Vandenberg - Launch Viewing  (Read 58731 times)

Offline manoweb

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Hello, I have been searching the Internet for locations to see this launch and this forum seems to have the best information! It seems most people suggest the location of W Ocean Ave. I am intrigued by Ynez Peak - broken roads or offroad do not bother me, but it seems very far - I would like to *hear* this launch if possible.

I plan to drive down from the Bay Area on Saturday, scout around the locations, and be in place for the Sunday morning launch. Anybody knows if the police bothers people that just pull over on W. Ocean Ave? Any particular restrictions in the area?

Offline Jdeshetler

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......
« Last Edit: 01/04/2016 06:44 PM by Jdeshetler »

Offline Lars-J

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......

The barge will be far below the horizon, even from there. According to the Earth Curve calculator ( https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/ ), you will lose sight of the stage below the horizon when it drops below ~4600 ft in altitude.

Offline Jdeshetler

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......

The barge will be far below the horizon, even from there. According to the Earth Curve calculator ( https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/ ), you will lose sight of the stage below the horizon when it drops below ~4600 ft in altitude.
Indeed, on the last part, I only expect to see the flames then disappeared behind the horizon even from the 2400' summit, nothing else. However I was hoping to capture the 1st stage's body turning around which is 50 to 80 miles away if the sun angle is ideal.

Offline manoweb

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I drove in the area in mid December, unfortunately at that time I was with others and I could not really spend too much time exploring for viewing spots (and I did not perform any research yet) but I would be extremely surprised if snow were a problem.

This said, so far I have this list of possible spots:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=znN_Vr72kiIE.k1PgkKyZojC8&usp=sharing
(feel free to edit it and add more points of interest if you like)

- W. Ocean Ave, as far as I know, the "closest" to the launch pad, that however is not directly visible. Hopefully police will not harass people at the side of the street. Not sure if it's allowed to camp for the night.
- S. Ynez Peak, should give the best view of the rocket launch from a distance; I still do not understand if one could see the launch pad from there

Others might include other places closer to Vandenberg or even public access beaches that might however be made unaccessible by the police or the military...

Offline Jdeshetler

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Here is an additional information on sun's position during the launching.

Looks like at least 30 degrees angles between the barge and the sun from the SY Peak.

Offline manoweb

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Jdeshetler, nice, 30deg is maybe not ideal but should still be OK. When are you going down?
Also - how do you know the barge location? Is it confirmed they will use a barge and not return to Vandenberg?

Offline Comga

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Jdeshetler, nice, 30deg is maybe not ideal but should still be OK. When are you going down?
Also - how do you know the barge location? Is it confirmed they will use a barge and not return to Vandenberg?

The ADSD location is in the FCC application as shown in the Jason-3 Discussion thread.

edit: Return to Vandenberg is precluded by, among other things, a tent on the landing pad as discussed up-thread.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2016 08:07 PM by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline manoweb

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Thanks Comga - I am new to this website and still have a lot to read. Interesting that one needs, of all things, a *FCC* application to land a rocket on a barge.

Offline psloss

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Something else to keep in mind for car travel is that we're finally seeing the storm setup into California (particularly the southern part of the state that tends to be dry) that a strong El Niņo is known for, with the first set of storms just about here.  I'll be keeping an eye on how well PCH and 101 hold up this week between L.A. and Santa Barbara in case the weather pattern lingers farther into the month.

Offline xcel102

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

I found this video on YouTube, comments say it's from Providence Landing Park, which is farther away but they can see the tip of the rocket:


How long in advance is good to be in the place?
Based on the amount of interest, I guess Ocean/Renwick might be crowded. So maybe arrive 1.5-2 hours before launch to get a good spot?

Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.
For Atlas 5 launches (SLC-3E), I turn into Renwick from Ocean. If you keep driving west on Ocean, the hills actually get higher so you see less. Not sure how much of that is true in SLC-4E's direction.

there's likely no cell reception in those area
Actually cell reception is decent in the area. I always had the webcast running during the countdown -- twice at Ocean/Renwick (Atlas 5) and once at the weather station (Delta 2).

Anybody knows if the police bothers people that just pull over on W. Ocean Ave?
They likely won't bother because 1) it's a prime viewing location so they probably know why you're there, even if it's the day before; and 2) it's middle of nowhere (farmland all around you) so not much potential criminal activity to suspect on you.

- W. Ocean Ave, as far as I know, the "closest" to the launch pad, that however is not directly visible. Hopefully police will not harass people at the side of the street. Not sure if it's allowed to camp for the night.
- S. Ynez Peak, should give the best view of the rocket launch from a distance; I still do not understand if one could see the launch pad from there
- W. Ocean Ave, on launch day it will be crowded so don't worry about police. As for camping overnight, there are plenty of lodging options just 5 minutes away in Lompoc, why not get some good sleep indoors and drive back the next morning as early as you want?
- S. Ynez Peak, never been there but I'm curious too. Won't get the spectacular liftoff roar or close-up view, but on the other hand will be able to see the ascend from the side. I'm also wondering about pad visibility.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 09:01 AM by xcel102 »

Offline manoweb

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

Yes, that is a good idea - anybody knows if there is a backup date/time?
PS why is there a 30s window in this kind of launch? It's not like they have to chase the ISS, I do not see why they could not launch at any time of the day or the night if they wish

Quote
Actually cell reception is decent in the area. I always had the webcast running during the countdown -- twice at Ocean/Renwick (Atlas 5) and once at the weather station (Delta 2).

So the problem may be that dozens of people are trying to stream live video on their cell phone...

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- W. Ocean Ave, on launch day it will be crowded so don't worry about police. As for camping overnight, there are plenty of lodging options just 5 minutes away in Lompoc, why not get some good sleep indoors and drive back the next morning as early as you want?

I was considering all the options. And I kind of promised my kids we would camp :)

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- S. Ynez Peak, never been there but I'm curious too. Won't get the spectacular liftoff roar or close-up view, but on the other hand will be able to see the ascend from the side. I'm also wondering about pad visibility.

I will definitely scout the area the day before. But I do not think I will watch the launch from there (this time).

Offline psloss

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

Yes, that is a good idea - anybody knows if there is a backup date/time?
PS why is there a 30s window in this kind of launch? It's not like they have to chase the ISS, I do not see why they could not launch at any time of the day or the night if they wish
This may be a repeat, perhaps multiple times, but:
http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3/mission.html
Quote
In what orbit will Jason-3 fly?

To ensure continuity of the global sea level record, Jason-3 will fly in the same 9.9 day repeat track orbit as all previous Jason missions, meaning the satellite will make observations over the same ocean point once every 9.9 days. The orbital parameters are: 66.05 degree inclination, 1380 km apogee, 1328 km perigee, 112 minutes per revolution around the earth.

One of the primary objectives of the Jason program is to monitor sea level rise, a challenging task considering the need to maintain high levels of accuracy and precision from one satellite to the next over multiple decades of time. One way to help reach this goal is to avoid gaps in the data record by launching each new Jason satellite while the older Jason satellite is still operating properly. In the first six months after launch, Jason-3 will be flown one minute behind Jason-2/OSTM, in order to detect any offsets between the missions. Subsequently, Jason-2/OSTM will be moved to different 9.9 day orbit to provide additional data coverage.

(Emphasis mine.)

Last announcement was that the next launch opportunity would be the next day.  (Beyond that, we'll have to wait to find out...well, hopefully it won't be necessary.)

« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 04:24 PM by psloss »

Offline manoweb

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hello psloss. OK I now understand why they have such short launch window - they need to position the satellite very precisely behind an existing satellite already in orbit. It's now clear.

Offline manoweb

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I have performed my own analysis on whereter one would be able to see the launch pad from S. Ynez peak, and it seems it's not possible (see chart). However, I will probably still go up to have a look.

The chart uses publicly available elevation data to calculate a profile, from SLC-4 on the left to S. Ynez peak on the right.

Offline Jdeshetler

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I have performed my own analysis on whereter one would be able to see the launch pad from S. Ynez peak, and it seems it's not possible (see chart). However, I will probably still go up to have a look.

The chart uses publicly available elevation data to calculate a profile, from SLC-4 on the left to S. Ynez peak on the right.

That's correct, there is no line of sight to the launch pad from SY Summit or any eastern summits, the SLC-4 is on the side of hills, facing the Pacific Ocean.

The real reason for picking SY Peak to to stay above the marina layer (temperature inversion) which is more unpredictable than the local weather itself especially in the am. Just want the optimal viewing of MECO and 1st stage turnaround.

Offline manoweb

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I see. According to the (limited) knowledge I have of that area of the Pacific Coast however, December-January should be the best time of the year in terms of fog, am I correct?

Online Semmel

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Jdeshetler, what hardware would you use to take the images?

Offline Jdeshetler

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Celestron C8 (2000mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain recording w/ BlackMagic Production at 4k/30f.
Mounted Canon 80-400mm f4-5.6 as a crosshair guide w/ Canon 60D (haven't decided yet)

Just want to avoid looking thru the marina layer which might distort the viewing at high power from the sea level.

Offline Pheogh

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?

View from the end of Ocean Ave:
« Last Edit: 01/08/2016 06:15 PM by Pheogh »

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