Yeah, rocket launches
are some of most awe-inspiring sights to watch.
I had a link in the Headlines today about the one
you write about being the last of the Titan IV launches.
On March 22, 1996, at 3:13:04 a.m. EST, my family
and I were fortunate enough to have a causeway pass
to Cape Canaveral to witness the Space ShuttleSTS-76
launch. We arrived at around 7:00 PM and brought
an alarm clock along to wake us up at around 2:00
AM. It was an absolutely perfectly clear night with
no wind, and the launch occurred exactly on time,
with not even a one second delay.
and noise was unimaginable, and the reflection of
the exhaust on the Banana River augmented the blinding
flash at ignition. It makes you proud to be an American
to witness such magnificant technology. But, alas,
it was all over almost as quickly as it began. At
about a mile away, it took around 5 seconds for
the sound to reach us. The shuttle accelerated astonishingly
quickly and was well off the launch pad by the time
the noise could be heard.
Unlike the old
Saturn V heavy booster of the Apollo era, that seemed
to dwell forever at ignition and slowly lift off
the pad, the shuttles are more like Estes model
rockets. Even with binoculars, the craft was out
of sight (other than a dot) in moments. That's where
watching on TV is a plus. Still, I would not trade
the experience for a radar-guided, high-mag camera
STS-76 Launch Video
http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/mis ... launch.mpg
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster