Jason, according to the pre-launch briefing on Thursday afternoon, stands for July August September October November... with a launch in December. (Among other things discussed were the delays that took place once the satellite was transported to the launch site—back in July— at Vanddenberg AFB and all sorts of problems cropped up, causing delays. So that "What Jason stands for" statment got the biggest laugh of the briefing!) Jason is the name of a satellite that was launched this morning. Actually , *two* satellites were launched on the same rocket. ...the other one is called TIMED. One rocket. Two satellites. Two teams of people who've been working for years to get those lil' birds up beyond the atmosphere, all in the name of science! :D
New vocabulary: T-0 (pronounced tee zero): launch time, which was this morning at 07:07:35.
Nominal.... a word which, to me, sounds borderline iffy, but really means "according to plan" and, therefore, optimal. Conditions were nominal. It was a fantastic morning. Someone who'd seen lots of launches said that this was the best and the brightest (9 strap on booster rockets at the base of the rocket—the max possible) and clear blue skies just at sunrise.
The official Jason page. Videos of launch (requires Real Player). Their page of pictures. My pictures are below, taken from the official viewing area out on a golf course overlooking the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Just as the rocket lifts beyond the ridge...
here's the whole rocket trail...
We had TV monitors which showed us cool perspectives we ourselves could not see... for instance, here, the rocket is high high above the planet and we're looking back down along the shaft... light blue below is Terra firma and the streaky blue on top is the atmosphere. Cool, eh?
I kept wanting to say to anyone who'd listen that I was "thrilled.....pleased.....proud!" (remember Apollo 13?)
or.. conversely, as a taxpayer, I thought it was a damn fine show!
Other Jason/TIMED news launch newsstories:
- New Scientist: NASA Satellite will monitoir uncharted atmosphere (this is more about TIMED)
- AP/Sacramento Bee: NASA oceanographic and atmospheric satellites launched (heh. written by Andrew Bridges, AP Science Writer, the same guy who interviewed me at the top of Mount Wilson during the Leonid Meteor Shower. I wonder if he was on one of the 9 buses that took around 400 of us to view the launch at the golf course near Vandenberg.)
- Reuters: NASA Satellite Blasts Off to Study Oceans
- Doc saw it, too! His vantage point: from Santa Barbara, about an hour south (by car) of the launch site. Check out his pictures!
- While not a site with news about this launch, Space.com's launch page lists upcoming rocket launches around the world