Canaveral Launch Success! (see comment 649)

By: LowerCal , 10:19 PM GMT on August 15, 2011

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On the east side of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) is a circular area of low clouds rotating counterclockwise. High clouds above it are moving clockwise. Deep convection is bursting near the center.

UPDATE: A satellite loop of the system described is in comment 1. Similar systems continue to appear. Below I've added self updating satellite images and surface maps of the area.

I'll add loops of similar systems that I see to the comments. Currently there are loops in comments 1 and 7.

Click on image for loop.


Click on image for loop.




Click on image for loop.







Locations of Visitors from the Past 24 Hours
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Grail Moonbound (Skyepony)
Last launch of a Delta II after 22 years. It was a Heavy so the sound rolled on a while. It is carrying twin satellites that are headed to survey The Moon. Beautiful launch NASA!
Grail Moonbound
Grail Moonbound on the last Delta II (Skyepony)
Last launch of a Delta II after 22 years. It was a Heavy so the sound rolled on a while. It is carrying twin satellites that are headed to survey The Moon. Beautiful launch NASA!
Grail Moonbound on the last Delta II
Precision (anvilhead)
A Super Scooper Fixed Wing Aircraft Makes A Water Drop Directly Behind A Home At The Wagon Fire.
Precision
Sunset Allure (anvilhead)
Sunset Allure
Development Of A Severe Thunderstorm (anvilhead)
I watched this storm develop for about an hour before it slowly bled off the mountains and turned severe in the Santa Clarita Valley. 60+ mph winds and dime sized hail. Wild weather day here !
Development Of A Severe Thunderstorm
Waxing Gibbous Moon (Ralfo)
Full Moon on 10,11,11
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Cagtripodi Sun Spots (Ralfo)
Mr. Cagtripodi discovered these sunspots on the Sun today from Italy as shown here earlier before on this site. This is a picture angled from Yonkers, N. Y. USA. All credit and thanks Must go to Mr. Cagtripodi for making us aware of the phenomena
Cagtripodi Sun Spots
Port St. John Fl. (joebed)
Atlas 5
Port St. John Fl.
Longs Peak beneath the lunar eclipse (PCG)
The moon is nearing entirely in the Earth's shadow as Longs Peak sits below.
Longs Peak beneath the lunar eclipse
()
Moonset (mcgino)
Another near infrared image. The bright part of the mountain is bright because it is covered in snow still.
Moonset
Almost Gone (MikePic)
Almost Gone
From the NW (kippic)
The clouds moved in and covered the moon just after I took this shot. Everett, WA
From the NW
Full Lunar Eclipse (catilac)
I had to bundle up this morning as temps were in the teens..
Full Lunar Eclipse
éclipse lunaire (anvilhead)
Over the Santa Clarita Valley
éclipse lunaire
Winter Solstice – The Shortest day of the Year (Ralfo)
Every Year on the Winter Solstice for many years now I have taken the Sunrise. It is always in the same spot behind that Evergreen Tree. This year there are some clouds but you can still see the Sun Blazing through. Today is the shortage amount daylight. The Good News! We will start picking up daylight from now on! Happy Holidays, Make it The Best Ever! P.S. In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice starts: Dec. 22, 12:30 A.M. EDT (05:30 UT*), Sun enters sign of Capricorn; winter begins.
Winter Solstice – The Shortest day of the Year
Quadrantid meteor (LaddObservatory)
A very bright meteor from the Quadrantids at 3:00:08 am EST captured by the wide field sky camera on the roof of Ladd Observatory.
Quadrantid meteor
Delta 4 Rocket Launch (Skyepony)
Delta 4 rocket launching the Air Force's Wideband Global SATCOM 4 military communications satellite.
Delta 4 Rocket Launch
Because the night belongs to lovers. (Altred)
Because the night belongs to lovers.
Natures night lite. (johngomes)
Not the best due to all the local light pollution but still better than a black sky. It was approximately 5 below with a slight wind while waiting for the lights to appear.
Natures night lite.
Green and clean. (Altred)
Green and clean.
Final Shuttle Launch (Skyepony)
I did this in Charcoal. It is ~6"X8". It should be the first in a series of three.
Final Shuttle Launch
Discovery Launch STS-120 (Skyepony)
I did this in pen & ink it is STS-120 Discovery, launched on October 23, 2007. It's ~6
Discovery Launch STS-120
Tonights Moon (Ralfo)
Full Moon Tomorrow. 2/7/12.
Tonights Moon
STS-1 (Skyepony)
I did this in pencil.
STS-1
Atlas V (Skyepony)
Atlas 5 rocket launching the Navy's MUOS 1 mobile communications satellite.
Atlas V

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U betcha...!


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Quoting Patrap:
Anytime LC,,

Atlas /Centaur performance "Nominal" so far.

" We be going back to Mars my Man.. "



With a laser this time! LOL
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
First stage separated and second stage ignited.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Anytime LC,,

Atlas /Centaur performance "Nominal" so far.

"We be going back to Mars my Man"..



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Main engine cutoff.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Pat Good morning and thanks for the video feed.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
"Looks good LC, right down da middle"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Payload fairing jettison.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Solid rocket booster burnout and jettison.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
NASA - KSC Video Feeds

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
T minus 1 minute.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Countdown has resumed.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
T minus 4 minutes and holding. All is "GO" for resuming countdown at 9:58am EST.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Pat Thanks for the preview. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Uploaded by VideoFromSpace on Jun 27, 2011

Animated chronicle of the Mars Science Laboratory touchdown on the red planet and the science it will perform. Credit: NASA/JPL - To View More Videos About the NEW MARS ROVER - Go to: http://www.space.com/13607-curiosity-suv-mars-rove rs.html

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
America's Mars Mission News

Mars Science Laboratory set for Saturday launch | Space News, Planetary Exploration
....
If all goes well, the nuclear-powered rover will reach the red planet next August, slamming into the thin martian atmosphere at some 13,200 mph for a nail-biting descent to the floor of 100-mile-wide crater dominated by a towering 3-mile-high central peak stacked with rocky layers of martian history.
....
The launch is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10:02am EST (1502 GMT) from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida. The weather forecast is 70% favorable for launch. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover will be atop an Atlas V rocket with 4 solid rocket boosters (SRBs). The SRBs will produce a substantintial smoke column that may be visible for quite a distance depending on just how "partly" the forecast partly cloudy skies are.

You can find a current updates blog and live video and coverage of the launch at

Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Russia's Mars Mission News

After a ground station in Australia heard signals from Russia's marooned Phobos-Grunt Mars mission on Wednesday

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Latest attempts to contact Phobos-Grunt yield 'no joy'
Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars probe again fell silent Thursday and Friday after encouraging communications signals were detected from the marooned satellite, which is stuck in low Earth orbit after a glitch kept the craft from continuing toward the Red Planet.
....
NASA's deep space network stopped listening for Phobos-Grunt on Tuesday to prepare for Saturday's launch of the Mars Science Laboratory.

Because Phobos-Grunt's altitude is so low, experts say the fuel-laden craft will succumb to the affects of drag and fall back to Earth early next year. Nicholas Johnson, NASA's chief orbital debris expert, said the re-entry may occur in late January or February, but a specific time period won't be known until much later.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Rob Thanks for that addition.

There's a problem though. Don't get me wrong. That's a great song by one of the greatest singers of all time. It's the graphic that's wonky.

Your moons are rubbish, astronomer tells Christmas card artists
....
The astronomer has put his pedantry to good use in a paper accepted for the journal Communicating Astronomy with the Public. In it, he surveys images of the moon on Christmas cards, wrapping paper and children's books in the Netherlands and the US. The moon was wrong in 40% of Dutch books and 65% of Dutch gift wrap. The US fared better because most cards, books and wrapping paper showed the full moon instead of the trickier waxing and waning ones.
....
Click here for an animation of the moon's phases.

Barthel is less troubled by images of Santa Claus delivering presents to the world's children in a single night from a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. "That's a miracle we do not understand; the moon phase we do understand, so why not draw it correct?"
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 101 Comments: 33361
Quoting LowerCal:
I am thankful for all my friends on the Weather Underground and for the diverse expertise, interests and viewpoints shared here.

Find more thanks and a beautiful image at Thankful Astronomer.


Me too, and thanks for the link!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 101 Comments: 33361
Pat You're welcome and thanks for your many appreciated contributions. :^)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
BriarCraft I feel the same way, friend. :^)

Happy Thanksgiving!
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
"Thank You" for this wunderful Entry for us to Live, learn, share and Explore.


Live at Irvine Meadows, Irvine California, 3 October 1995.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
We may not interact directly very often, but we hang out in many of the same places, so you feel like a friend to me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I am thankful for all my friends on the Weather Underground and for the diverse expertise, interests and viewpoints shared here.

Find more thanks and a beautiful image at Thankful Astronomer.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
GG I thank you for the offer. :^)

My Corgi-Lab mix Dog thanks you profusely for clearing up that confusion. (I know y'all are kidding though 'cause Roxy is winking.)
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
LowerCal, if I ever win a huge lotto, I will definitely send you on one of those missions...or atleast a zero G flight.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 259 Comments: 9871
Mad innovation and success in commercial space development:


Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | SpaceX unveils flyback Falcon rocket reusability plan
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk, speaking at the National Press Club Thursday, unveiled an innovative plan to recover his company's spent rocket stages by flying them back to the launch site using their own engines for a powered vertical descent to touchdown on strut-like landing gear. If the system works, Musk said, launch costs would be dramatically reduced.



"It's just a very tough engineering problem," he said. "(But) I've come to the conclusion that it can be solved. And SpaceX is going to try to do it.
....
"We'll see if this works," Musk said. "But it's going to be certainly an exciting journey. And if it does work, it'll be pretty huge. If you look at the cost of a Falcon 9 ... it's about $50 (million) to $60 million. But the cost of the fuel and oxygen and so forth is only about $200,000. So obviously, if we can reuse the rocket, say, a thousand times, then that would make the capital cost of the rocket for launch only about $50,000. ... It would allow about a hundred-fold reduction in launch costs."
....

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | SpaceX has short list for commercial launch site
SpaceX is eyeing Puerto Rico, Texas, Hawaii, or Florida to be home of a new commercial launch facility for its Falcon rocket family, the company's founder and chief executive tells Spaceflight Now.

The site would handle commercial missions, while flights for federal government customers could continue to be based from Cape Canaveral, Fla., or Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
....
The company says it has more than $3 billion in revenue on the books through 2017, and it has sold more than 40 missions on the Falcon 9 rocket. More than half of those flights are for commercial customers, according to SpaceX.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Eeehehehehehe! We should achieve world domination in... uh, never mind. ;^)

Glad you and your friend avoided the disappointment and cold stress. The meteor watching experience can subtract another 10-20 degrees from the wind chill when you're just sitting or lying still for a stretch of time.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
April sounds better for staying up to watch meteors than during the cold nights here. A friend that I took to see her first meteor shower last year called all excited and wanted to know if "we" were going to go see them the other night.

It was COLD out and I was actually happy to have the excuse, have to work in the morning gots to go to sleep soon.

Hopefully April will be on my day off and clear. I have another convert to skygazing...bwahahahahah ;-)
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 259 Comments: 9871
I did wake before dawn but it was foggy and overcast. That's OK though. The first chance for a meteor shower that won't be washed out by the Moon is the Lyrids next April 21-22.

2012 Meteor Showers
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Karen Thanks for the note. The Leonid meteor shower will be competing with the nearly last quarter moon. I won't make a special effort but if I do happen to wake before dawn I'll take a peek outside. I might get lucky.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
LC - you probably already know this, but I'm too pooped to look back to see if you have it. I just know you get so many visitors that look to the skies! From my Sky Watching Telescope Guy!

READERS- keep in mind that this is coming from a SoCal perspective, so make sure you check out the link to check for your times!


Meteor Shower Tonight

Every year the Earth passes through a stream of particles left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle as it swings around the sun in its roughly 33-year orbit. The magnitude of the shower varies greatly from year to year, but the best displays always happen around November 17 in North America. This year the shower is expected to be relatively weak, but if your sky is clear and you are a night owl, late Thursday and early Friday morning is a good time to spend 15 minutes gazing skyward. If you get lucky, you’ll catch a meteor or two and be happy that you made the effort. I plan to watch sometime between midnight and dawn if the sky is clear. If you would like to learn more about meteor showers, give this Sky and Telescope link a try:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/ meteors/112475399.html
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I've added a WunderPhoto of the day star at the bottom of the blog entry.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Spaceflight Now | Shenzhou Mission Report | Chinese Shenzhou capsule returns after docking mission
The return capsule of the Shenzhou 8 spacecraft parachuted to a safe landing in Inner Mongolia on Thursday, wrapping up China's first docking mission ahead of manned flights next year.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Congressional hearing currently in progress on NASA's human space exploration effort.
Watch live streaming video from spaceflightnow at livestream.com
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Pat Thanks for the photo. :^)

More info on the huge mobile tower at
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Mobile launch platform begins two weeks of testing.

Rob No need to apologize. You only stated the realities.

China doesn't have to pander to an under-informed electorate. As a matter of fact it doesn't have to pander to an informed electorate either. :^\ Nevertheless we have shown that we could outdo that style of government before.

As you say we have missed opportunities for lack of a coherent vision. I hope we can stick to the plan now which includes maintaining adequate funding.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
A heavy lift system is way overdue. Sadly, we should have that and a new shuttle system by now. It's okay though, we can just sit back and watch China take up the slack for the next few years. They've got lots of cash...

Sorry, I shouldn't be angry. I've just seen this coming for a long time. Tired of seeing the plans and priorities change with every new administration...no long term goals.

China historically takes a long term view.
We don't anymore...
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 101 Comments: 33361
The mobile launcher moves down the crawlerway on the top of a crawler-transporter. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett




Larger Image
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Pat, Rob I'm afraid it will be a long time before we have an up *and* down cargo hauler as capable at the Shuttle. :^/

The good news is there is clear plan for building the Space Launch System (SLS) (thanks for the video, Pat) and most of the components already exist or are well along in development. Congress just needs to maintain the funding.

Related good news is
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Mammoth mobile launch mount moves to pad today
One of NASA's heavy-duty diesel-powered crawlers will move the space agency's towering new 39-story mobile launch platform Wednesday to pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center.
....
Launch pad 39B's shuttle-era servicing structures were demolished and now the complex is mostly bare except for its water tower and three 60-story lightning towers. It will be the home of NASA's future heavy-lift rocket.
....
The first launch of the SLS is scheduled for late 2017. Before then, crews will modify the former Ares mobile platform to support the more powerful heavy-lifter.
Also today the Russian Soyuz safely delivered 3 new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) bringing it back to fully staffed status again.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228

What's Next For NASA?


"As a former astronaut and the current NASA Administrator, I'm here to tell you that American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century because we have laid the foundation for success -- and failure is not an option."
Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
National Press Club, July 1, 2011
› View Speech Video | › Speech Text (82 KB PDF)

The end of the space shuttle program does not mean the end of NASA, or even of NASA sending humans into space. NASA has a robust program of exploration, technology development and scientific research that will last for years to come. Here is what's next for NASA:







Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Quoting LowerCal:
Meanwhile Russia's resumption of interplanetary missions is not going so well.

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | December deadline for stranded Russian Mars probe
Russia has until early December to establish contact with the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe and send it toward the Red Planet, the head of the Russian space ageny said Monday.
....
But controllers have not communicated with the probe since it launched Nov. 8. Phobos-Grunt's main propulsion system did not ignite for either of two planned firings to propel itself out of low Earth orbit and on a course to Mars.
....
If engineers can't recover Phobos-Grunt, it will continue flying in orbit and crash back to Earth in the next month or two.
....


A shame we don't have us a space buggy no more or we could fly up and fetch it for them.
:o(
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 101 Comments: 33361
Quoting LowerCal:
Meanwhile Russia's resumption of interplanetary missions is not going so well.

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | December deadline for stranded Russian Mars probe
Russia has until early December to establish contact with the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe and send it toward the Red Planet, the head of the Russian space ageny said Monday.
....
But controllers have not communicated with the probe since it launched Nov. 8. Phobos-Grunt's main propulsion system did not ignite for either of two planned firings to propel itself out of low Earth orbit and on a course to Mars.
....
If engineers can't recover Phobos-Grunt, it will continue flying in orbit and crash back to Earth in the next month or two.
....



Shucks,, get Discovery in the OPF and find a ET somewhere fast.

We gonna get us a Russian Sat,

...again.

..............................."Spit"


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Meanwhile Russia's resumption of interplanetary missions is not going so well.

Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | December deadline for stranded Russian Mars probe
Russia has until early December to establish contact with the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe and send it toward the Red Planet, the head of the Russian space ageny said Monday.
....
But controllers have not communicated with the probe since it launched Nov. 8. Phobos-Grunt's main propulsion system did not ignite for either of two planned firings to propel itself out of low Earth orbit and on a course to Mars.
....
If engineers can't recover Phobos-Grunt, it will continue flying in orbit and crash back to Earth in the next month or two.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Pat Not that much different than coverage of NASA missions we've seen except for all the military uniforms.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Uploaded by SpaceVidsNet on Oct 31, 2011

A Long March 2F rocket blasted off from China today at 21:58 UTC, Launching the Shenzhou-8 Spacecraft.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129446
Spaceflight Now | Shenzhou Mission Report | Shenzhou 8 aces second docking test in sunlight
Two Chinese spacecraft in orbit successfully accomplished another high-speed link-up Monday during a second docking demonstration designed to test sensitive optical rendezvous sensors against the harsh glare of the sun.

Monday's test was crucial for Chinese engineers to gain confidence in the country's nascent rendezvous and docking technology before committing to a manned docking mission in the first half of 2012.
....
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Ylee Good question! A rocket ascending through precipitation or even ice crystal clouds can build up a charge of static electricity. For an American rocket to be launched in those conditions it must be certified that it will not malfunction as a result. Aside from any other costs the certification process itself has a cost. For some rocket applications it's just more economical to scrub occasionally than to be able to launch in those conditions.

Russia on the other hand has been launching humans from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan in central Asia since the beginning, i.e. Yuri Gagarin. Snow and cold are frequent there during the winter as opposed to Cape Canaveral.

Karen I always appreciate the "just in case" because there's always a chance some of my readers haven't seen it. :^)

That is an especially awesome time lapse. Thank you.
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 58 Comments: 9228
Knowing how into space you are, you have probably seen this, but just in case you haven't.

This Astounding Orbital Time Lapse Will Blow Your Brains Out in Space
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262. Ylee
LC, last night's launch(Or this mornings!) of Soyuz took place while it was snowing. Is this normal procedeure for the Russians? We almost never launch with cloud cover, do we?
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Astronomy with a minimum of terminology and technology.

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APRSWXNET Woodland Hills CA US
Calabasas, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperature: 51.0 °F
Dew Point: 34.0 °F
Humidity: 53%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 2.0 mph
Updated: 5:33 AM PST on December 01, 2013
At Gonzales Drive
Woodland Hills, CA
Elevation: 984 ft
Temperature: 58.3 °F
Dew Point: 32.2 °F
Humidity: 37%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 9:03 AM PST on November 28, 2014

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