Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Just In: Fantastic Florida Today Launch Images

Stunning up-close images of the Ares I-X test flight are coming in to Florida Today this morning after a propellant leak that caused a one-day delay in the recovery of remote cameras around Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39B.

Award-winning Florida Today photographer Michael R. Brown, who has been documenting the nation's space program since 1978, set out six remote cameras in three locations around launch pad 39B the day before NASA's first Ares I-X launch attempt on Tuesday.

The six cameras were located in thee spot. The photographs with the rocket's reflection off Florida wetland -- the one that capture birds flying in the pad area at launch time -- were taken from a spot east of the pad. The others were taken from two locations southeast of the pad.

Click on the images to enlarge them. Click "Read More" For additional shots:

Brown employs a system that includes sturdy tripods, long-lasting batteries and either microphones or a "geophone." Both activate the remote cameras when the acoustic wave from launch reaches the photographic equipment.

The close-up shots show the rocket's step off the pad -- the slight lean designed to minimize the amount of damage done to the launch tower by the plume of the first-stage solid rocket motor, which generates 3.3 million pounds of thrust within a half-second of ignition.

The thrust vector control system in the aft skirt of the rocket is employed to deflect the nozzle of the solid rocket motor about one-tenth of a degree to push the rocket up and away from pad infrastructure. The size of the rocket -- 327 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter at its widest point -- makes the tilt obvious to the unaided eye.

The 1.8-million-pound Ares I-X rocket cleared the tower about six seconds after liftoff and went supersonic within 39 seconds. The Ares I-X high thrust-to-weight ratio made the rocket accelerate quickly and leap off the launch pad as it headed out on a high arc over the Atlantis Ocean.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael R. Brown, Florida Today.

1 comment:

Steve in California said...

Great photos!