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Last night, at 11:27, the largest rocket yet to launch off from the new spaceport built on Wallops Island VA next to Chincoteague, left the ground to fly to the moon.

Rocket To The Moon

If you were in this area and looked south for about three minutes after is launch, you would have seen the glow with a long tail roughly stretching close to a fifth the length of your neighbor’s house across the street… then see it disappear, only to reappear as the next stage fired up… It would continue until out of sight.

Range of Ladee Visual

I anticipated far less. I assumed it would barely launch high enough over the horizon, and would be hard to distinguish from one of the airliners flying up the East Coast… (only it’s lights wouldn’t blink)… I wish I’d gone to another spot, higher up, with no obstructions in front. Because it was spectacular.

Here is a idea of how the trajectory looked here; perhaps the elevation of the Empire State Building compensates for the curvature from Delaware to New York…

launch trajectory from Empire State

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Photo Courtesy of Wallops Island

Most people are unaware there are more NASA launch sites other than Cape Carnaveral. But listed as the newest one is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia which is located on Wallops Island in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Space Center. (Most of you know, Wallops Island is just south of Chincoteague)..

Wallops Island was our nations first space launch site. It was established in 1945 by the Langley Research Center as a pilotless aircraft research station. It was incorporated by NASA in 1959. It has always been the small boy of the three launch sites. In the initial days, is was in hot contestation against Cape Canaveral for the becoming the main launch site. The difference in winter temperatures decided the issue.

As an aside Delawareans should be interested to note, that the first seven Nazi rocket technicians of arrived in the United States at New Castle Army Air Field, just south of Wilmington, Delaware, on September 20, 1945. They were then flown to Boston and taken by boat to the Army Intelligence Service post at Fort Strong in Boston Harbor. Later, with the exception of von Braun, the men were transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to sort out the Peenemünde (the Nazi Rocket base) documents, enabling the scientists to continue their rocketry experiments.

In 1998, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, later joined by Maryland, built the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops on land leased from NASA. In December 2006, the facility made its first launch. It was from here yesterday’s successful launch occurred…. The launch sets the stage for a second company to begin resupply missions to the International Space Station.

California-based SpaceX became the first private firm to officially resupply the ISS last October. Its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying a Dragon capsule filled with cargo and science experiments. Today, Antares, built by spaceflight company Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Virginia, lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, at 22.00 GMT (Sunday, April 21, 5 pm)..

This was just a test carrying a dummy payload corresponding to the weight and proportions of its Cygnus payload. But while Dragon can return from its missions loaded with cargo, no Cygnus craft will ever make it back to Earth. These craft will leave the ISS filled with trash and will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The next test is in June, and if all goes well, 8 flights have been contracted to occur over the next 3 years.

Unfortunately even though it is only 130 miles south, it cannot be seen from Delaware during the day, nor heard. However 21 minutes after launch a very low level rumbling of distant sonic booms were alleged to have been heard here in Northern Delaware.

But, of all places… Sleepy Delmarva. How cool is that?

January 1-3
January 1-3

January 11-13 2013January 11-13

I getting a bad feeling about this. Who can tell us? What’s this mean?

Btw. There is a monster hurricane approaching Alaska with a low of 943mb. Category 4 if it were an actual hurricane. It is so huge it would stretch from the East Coast of the US to Denver.

We are approaching the 45 anniversary of one of the foundations of our development. Even if we weren’t followers, quite often our bosses, mentors, or best friends were, so we had to deal with the consequences and irregardless, were shaped in some ways by this event…..

This past September the Eighth, marked the 45th birthday of the series Star Trek. Who would have guessed it would have spawned 5 more series for a total of 6, 11 full length movies, dozens of games, hundreds of novels (all read by Hube of course), and a Las Vegas theme park?…..

It took me a while to “get it”… As a science fiction buff, I was into the special effects, the glory of something new every week, and believe or not, we discussed the concepts found in Star Trek in our higher math classes….

But coming back to it later… (it was cheesy seeing the special effects of the 60s with bulbous Christmas lights representing massive computers)..I see a fundamental truth illustrated that pretty well defines all mankind throughout our species’ existence…..

When confronted with a crises, the decider(Kirk)listens to reason (Spock) and emotions (Bones) and then determines a best guess, and luckily each week it was the right one….

The interaction is hyped between the characters so one can plainly see that at times listening only to emotions will get one in trouble; at other times, listening only to reason will get one in trouble, so neither approach to such an argument is sacrosanct…….

Interestingly, reason or pure logic gets portrayed by an outside influence, a Vulcan in this case, someone not human…. At first glance this person representing “reason and logic” appears weird, possibly untrustworthy…..

But usually he is right.

The lesson carries today. Our conservative friends may quaff at the reason being given by one who is on the surface, different in appearance.

They, like Bones, are governed by emotions: fear, loathing, and hatred and sometimes, yes, love….. (seems to happen a lot in airport bathroom stalls)….

It will be a combination of both, that pulls us out of this weeks crises. Next week, stay tuned… same time; same channel…

Today I woke up above ground.

India Goes To Moon
Courtesy of BBC
Roughly 8:30 our time, a rocket carrying a satellite lifted off from a launch pad in India…. Bringing India into the space crowd where it now joins China, Russia, France (Europe), and the United States as the priveleged few to have developed programs sophisticated enough to leave earth’s orbit…

I just received an eyewitness report I was rather late getting to, that because of the convention, most of you may have passed it by……

I will post the newsworthy portion of the comment:……

“I saw Bill Lee a week ago in Middletown at the parade. He was shaking hands on the parade route, then he hung out in town and walked around the festival and talked to people.

I checked out his site, and there are a bunch of pics of him, he’s been to every parade and festival in the state in the past 3 months and a lot of other places.

He’s even been to DNREC hearings…”

Naturally I was quite relieved. I was afraid he had suffered a serious medical emergency, and no one was saying anything.

Courtesy of Delawareonline and Mike Matthews at DWA

But according to one or our most appropriately named commenters, DUH, Bill Lee is alive and well.

Sigh of relief.

I'll Never Trust a Man Who Doesn't DrinkI'
photo courtsey of Mousey Tongue, courtesy of The People’s Cube

For Al Mascitti of WDEL:

In honor of this morning’s coverage of Last Night’s Debate.

Some interesting science news.

Is the “end” really coming?