Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch, December 18, 1999

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Terra Satellite scrubbed The lift-off of the Atlas-IIAS carrying the Terra Satellite was postponed on Thursday, December 16, 1999. A few minutes before the scheduled launch a glider pilot landed at the Lompoc Airport, which is within the aircraft exclusion zone for the launch. (What kind of threat to flight safety does that constitute?) The countdown was restarted, but due to a failure to detect a change of software state at T-40, it was stopped again. With the initial delay and the time required to safe the rocket systems, the launch window closed. It is seen here on the launch pad at SLC-3E a short while before its scheduled launch.

The Atlas-IIAS carrying the Terra Satellite lifted off at 10:57 A.M. PST on Saturday December 18, 1999.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch The ground-lit Castor solid fuel boosters have ignited and the Atlas IIAS has started to rise from the pad.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch The entire rocket comes into view.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch Space Launch Complex 3 East is engulfed in the exhaust of the Atlas IIAS. The exhaust drifted away quickly, but smoke rose from small brush fires for the next couple of hours.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch Atlas IIAS ascends.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch The air-lit solid fuel boosters of the Atlas IIAS ignite.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch The Atlas IIAS heads south toward polar orbit.

Atlas IIAS/Terra Launch Its exhaust trail hangs in the sky afterward.

Goddard Space Flight Center Link to the Terra Satellite Page of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Terra  Satellite Link to the Terra Satellite Home Page .

John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field Link to NASA Atlas-II Launch Vehicle Page of NASA's John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field.

Lockheed-Martin Astronautics Link to the Atlas Product Page of Lockheed-Martin Astronautics.

International Launch Services Link to International Launch Services, the merger of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, the marketing and mission management arm for the Atlas vehicle, and Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia, International, the marketing and mission management arm for commercial Proton launches.

45th Space Wing Link to the Atlas II Fact Sheet of the 45th Space Wing of Patrick Air Force Base.

Link to the Atlas-IIAS Page of the ENCYCLOPEDIA ASTRONAUTICA .

Book about missiles and rockets available from

The Missile and Space Race by Alan J. Levine. Here is a history of the development of military missiles and space travel from World War II to the American visits to the Moon in 1969-1972. It stresses the relationship between the early stages of space exploration and the arms race, and that a dual path led to space flight. One was the development of unmanned long-range war rockets, the other, less often noted, was the rocket-powered research plane. The first path led through the intercontinental ballistic missile to the first artificial satellites and space capsule; the latter, more uniquely American, through the X-series and Skyrocket rocket planes to the X-15, and ultimately to the Space Shuttle. The early part of the book focuses on the Soviet-American race to develop the ICBM in the 1950s, and the first satellites, with particular attention paid to the events and reactions that followed the flight of Sputnik I in 1957 and the subsequent missile gap era.

Link to the home page of the 30th Space Wing 30th Space Wing

Call the Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch Hotline at (805) 606-1857 for current launch schedule information.

NASA rocket launch manifest Link to the NASA rocket launch manifest

For national and international space coverage visit

Brian Webb's Rawhide Space Page provides launch schedule and ham radio information.

Send a message to Brian.

Go to home page of the Goleta Air and Space Museum.