Edhatter Views of the Delta Heavy Launch
Edhat readers share their photos of the Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg on Saturday afternoon.
From Goleta, a shot after the exhaust contrails and way up when they said it was going 1,000 miles per hour. (scroll through the above photos)
By Stargazer Ron
A Delta IV Heavy rocket made its last West Coast launch under clear skies with an NRO payload on Saturday, September 24 at 3:25pm from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg. The National Reconnaissance Office keeps details of its satellites classified, but the heavy payload suggests an instrument similar to the Hubble Space Telescope, only pointed toward the Earth rather than out into space. It will likely operate in a sun-synchronous orbit — a low, near-polar, orbit that allows it to cover most of the Earth’s surface as it passes over the same area at the same local solar time every day in order to provide consistent lighting conditions. The brightness of the daylight today made it challenging to get a good view of the booster from the Santa Barbara area. Here it is from Goleta just over two minutes after liftoff as it travels supersonically at an elevation of more than 20 miles.