Saturday, January 31, 2015


Go Delta! Go SMAP!   Team ULA (United Launch Alliance)

The alarm clock had been set for 6:00 am. The Delta 2 SMAP* rocket launch was scheduled for 0620 PST - the opening of a three-minute window of opportunity. The iPads were ready and set up to watch the streaming Live Video.

Thursday: The Man got up before 6 am and went outside to the Vista. He saw a blanket of thick fog. He noted that the sky was clear. Watched the pre-launch Live Feed on the iPad. Went outside to let The Man know that the mission was postponed till the next day due to high winds in the upper atmosphere. Headed for the coffeemaker.

Friday: Didn't get out of bed. Read that the mission was postponed another day due to technical difficulties. Murmured the news to The Man, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Saturday (today): Winds were favorable, all systems were "go". Thick fog out on the Vista with minimal visibility, unable to see the night sky. Watched the streaming Live Video. Waited. Hopeful.

January 31, 2015
The View from the iPad

All Systems Green

All Fired Up

Lift Off

Blast Off

Into The Fog

Mattie delivered the two-minute warning, her ears perked up like twin radars. She heard the rocket overhead even if we couldn't. She barked once. It was over.

The score (final): Fog 1, Home 0.

No matter, I'm sure we'll have another opportunity and be ready for the next one.

*SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite is designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and it's freeze/thaw state. High resolution space-based measurements of soil moisture and whether the soil is frozen or thawed will give scientists a new capability to observe and predict natural hazards of extreme weather, climate change, floods and droughts, and will help reduce uncertainties in the understanding of Earth's water and carbon cycles.
Vandenberg AFB, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs