The last Lockheed-Martin Titan IVB launch
(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below.)
The last Lockheed-Martin Titan IVB rocket launched a classified National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:05 A.M. Thursday morning. Future large payloads will be launched from Space Launch Complex 6 on the Boeing Delta IV Heavy. I photographed the launch 4.9 miles from SLC-4E with a 400mm f3.5 lens and a 2x-teleconverter at 1/1000 second and an effective film speed of 200 ISO.
Tour the Space Launch Complexes of Vandenberg Air Force Base on Google Earth.
T+5 seconds. The bright flame from the solid fuel boosters saturated the CCD, but it looked bright violet looking through the 800mm telephoto lens.
T+8 seconds. Compare this launch to a shot taken from the same place of the Titan IV that was launched at 3:45 P.M. on August 18, 2000. The earlier launch used a longer payload fairing and a different launch heading.
T+36 seconds. A cloud forms behind the shock wave surrounding the payload fairing as the rocket experiences the maximum dynamic pressure of the launch.
T+103 seconds. The Titan IVB disappeared behind a cloud before the solid fuel booster separation.
T+271 seconds. The exhaust trail of the last Titan IVB drifts away from the launch pad, towering over the deck of scattered cumulus clouds.
More Vandenberg AFB launch photography.
The home page of the 30th Space Wing
Brian Webb's Space Archive Page provides launch schedule and ham radio information.
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