GOOD WEATHER TO SEE A ROCKET LAUNCH FROM CAMPUS!
On Friday, September 6, NASA will be launching a rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, to carry a science
satellite into orbit. The satellite will orbit the moon. It is possible for Maryland residents to see (weather permitting, clouds, trees and haze may cause trouble) parts of the flight.
To help those in the Hood community interested in following the event, we have generated a graphic, that shows various viewpoints of the trajectory of the
Minotaur V rocket carrying LADEE into orbit, as it would be seen from Hood College. So if you are out and about this Friday (9/6) between 11:27-11:31 PM, you know where to look!
Click on the image for a larger view
Caption: In the foreground, our campus and Alumnae Hall. In the background to the right is the city of Frederick.
Further back, to the right, the beginning of the orange line is the launch loacation, Wallops Island. We have annotated
the different stages and the number of seconds for the visible booster stages. The blue colored lines indicate the cruising segment of flight.
The image was created using the orbit trajectory provided by Orbital Sciences (builder of the Minotaur V rocket)
as a Keyhole Markup Language (KMZ) file and Google Earth. By overlaying the trajectory and manipulating the 3D views of
Google Earth, it is possible to see the launch trajectory as it would be seen from our campus.
Credit: Hood College Weather Station, Dept. of Computer Science, Hood College.
WHY IS THIS COOL?|
The Wallops Flight Facility is one of the oldest launch facilities in the world and it is located less than 200 miles
from Frederick (map). The facilty is primarily used by NASA to launch suborbital scientific balloons and sounding rockets.
This time, an eight-story, five-stage booster Minotaur V rocket (photo) will be used in its maiden flight to send
an 844-pound satelite into space via a highly elliptic orbit.
The satellite is called LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere & Dust Environment Explorer) and will orbit the moon for approximately 100 days
to collect data about the lunar atmosphere and the environmental influences on lunar dust. These are important data
because scientists expect to get answers on long-standing questions and to gain understanding of conditions in other planetary bodies.
LADEE (photo) has three science instruments, two spectrometers and
one ...dust collector (see payload details here).
along with one technology demonstrator. The technology demonstrator is a laser-based communications system
testing optical (light) transmissions, similar to fiber optics on the ground. Typical space communication uses radio waves.
Because the rocket is launched at night, it is expected to be visible to a large portion of the eastern corridor
A number of projections have been made (link),
showing how the launch can be seen from various cities and landmarks (DC, NYC, Cape Cod, MA, Raleigh, NC and others).
For more details about the launch and how to see it, see the Links below.
Questions and Comments
For up to the minute campus weather information, follow weather.hood.edu.
If you have any questions, corrections or comments about this story, please contact George Dimitoglou (dimitoglou [at] cs.hood.edu).
a. Wallops Island Map. Credit: marsspaceport.com
b. Minotaur V rocket at launch pad. Credit: NASA News
c. LADEE being prepared. Credit: NASA Ames
d. Visibility Map. Credit: Orbital Sciences
e. LADEE Trajectory from Hood College. Credit: Hood College Weather Station, Dept. of Computer Science
, Hood College, Frederick, Maryland.
- LADEE Mission Page
- Orbital Minotaur V Rocket
- NASA Wallops Flight Facility
- NASA Solar System Exploration LADEE Launch Visibility