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Space Science

Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch 67

PeeAitchPee writes "East Coast residents of the US were treated to the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's commercial spaceport. The 69-foot Minotaur I rocket soared from the launch pad at 7 a.m. ET, after teams spent the week resolving a glitch in software for one of the satellites that had scrubbed a liftoff on Monday. I witnessed the launch while driving to BWI airport this morning and it was beautiful! It left a zig-zag contrail in the southern sky and the separation / ignition of one of the upper stages was clearly visible." The spaceport, a commercial collaboration of Virginia and Maryland, is on the Delmarva peninsula south of the Maryland line, just west of Chincoteague Island.
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Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch

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  • by From A Far Away Land ( 930780 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:03PM (#17270922) Homepage Journal
    I asked the designers of the Da Vinci Project in Canada when they'd start making launches into space, and the last I heard of the Project was months ago, after a gathering in the south western US for a competition. I guess I'll have to see when they are going to get a launch date in place for the pad that was prepared at Kindersley, SK Canada a couple years ago.

    It would be nice to have a "northerly" launch point, even though it's more common to have pads closer to the equator.
  • I saw it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rrkaiser ( 676130 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:42PM (#17271188)
    I made an early morning trip to a local laudromat in Bowie, Maryland. I normally get there a little before 7:00 A.M. EST. Sunrise happens now around 7:10 A.M. It's a pleasure to see the sky and clouds change color and appearance as sunrise nears.

    As I watched today, I said, "What's that?". To the east a thin bright white contrail grew longer and longer. What's that? I had no idea. Something "shiny" was drawing a line on the sky. The contrail quickly went from a line to jaggy. My guess - Something must be traveling vertical, going through different wind layers.

    Acceleration was easily visible - not at all like a cruising plane. It changed course from what may have been nearly vertical to something much closer to horizontal. At times, a long "wake" was visible - a bright line vee from the base of the "shiny thing".

    I had no idea what I was looking at. Now I do.
    Shiny? The rocket exhaust flame? The distance from Bowie to Wallops is on the order of 100 miles, I can't have been seeing the rocket itself.

    It might be decade or so since that last time I've seen a "not looking for it" launch display from the Wallops area.

  • Re:TSA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @05:25PM (#17271456)
    I think a better thing to say would be "I hope nobody decides to hijack a rocket, so TSA has a reason to get involved."
  • by DavidLJ ( 190528 ) * on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:57PM (#17272072)
    Agreed. I saw the head and looked in on the assumption that somebody had got around to building a floating rocket base, to get away from populations and to get closer to the Equator. Wer-ronggg!

  • by fishbulb- ( 81857 ) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @12:04AM (#17274214)
    I just happened to be outside and looking east and saw it launch... And I was about 300 miles away in Irwin, PA. detail.html []

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