Delta-II/CALIPSO, Cloudsat launch from Vandenberg AFB
(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below.)
The Cloudsat and CALIPSO satellites were launched into orbit by a Delta-II rocket at 3:02:16 AM PDT Friday April 28.
Due to a failure of the CALIPSO Satellite to communicate with its ground support network in France, a Delta II rocket did not powerfully launch it and the Cloudsat into orbit on Friday, April 21 at 3:02 AM PDT. Residents of the Santa Ynez Valley, obscured by clouds, were not roused from their beds by the roar of the mighty rocket. On Saturday and Sunday, the launch was postponed due to the unavailability of a KC-135 tanker to refuel the NKC-135B Big Crow telemetry relay airplane that will be flying over the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles south of Vandenberg Air Force Base during the launch.
The launch of the Cloudsat and CALIPSO satellites was scrubbed again on Tuesday at 2:57 AM PDT due to excessive high-altitude winds. The constellation of Scorpio rose above the Santa Barbara Channel in a sky not split by the fire of the ascending Delta-II rocket. Bad weather forced a scrub of the launch attempt on Wednesday and a suspect nitrogen temperature sensor on the Boeing Delta 2 rocket's second stage caused a postponement of the launch attempt on Thursday
The Delta-II rocket launched successfully at 3:02 AM PDT on Friday, April 28.
After jettisoning the solid fuel boosters, the liquid-fueled core of the Delta II arched over the southern horizon.
Composite of the two images above captures nearly the entire first stage burn.
More Vandenberg AFB launch photography.
You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Photos of thirteen rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base:
Pegasus-XL/Wide-Field Infra-red Explorer (WIRE) March 4, 1999
Atlas-IIAS/Terra December 18, 1999
Delta II/Gravity Probe B, April 20, 2004
Minotaur/Streak September 22, 2005
Titan IV/National Reconnaissance Office satellite, October 19, 2005
Minuteman III, February 16, 2006
Minuteman III, April 2, 2008
Target Launch Vehicle, September 24, 2008
Delta-II/GeoEye 1, September 6, 2008
Delta II/Jason 2, June 20, 2008
Delta II/COSMO-Skymed, October 24, 2008
Taurus/Orbiting Carbon Observatory, February 24, 2009
Delta-II/Worldview 2, October 28, 2009
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Link to Boeing's Delta-II page.
Link to the Air Force Fact Sheet about the Delta-II.
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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