Wednesday, August 7, 2013 @ 8:29 PM Eastern, NASA had launched Delta IV rocket carrying WGS-6 communication satellite with funding from the Australian government. This had been my second night-time launch at Port Canaveral, Florida. Burning through liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, the Delta IV’s RS-68 engines had rocked the dusk with rumbling twice the volume of an orbiter. In the 1980s, with the succession of the shuttle program, Delta class rockets had been decommissioned. After the Challenger accident, these vehicles had been selected again for commercial payloads starting in 1989; However, the Delta’s history had gone back further to the time of Russia’s Sputnik in 1957. Delta class rockets had been a commercial version of military intermediate-range ballistic missile from the Thor program. Delta class had also launched Telstar communication satellites bringing into television pop culture the phrase, “live from satellite.”
As a Floridian, I had waited until my late 30s to view NASA’s launches up close. This had been a mistake for anyone with an appreciation for the sci-fi genre, “real science,” and/or a touch of pyromania! Definitely checkout Space Coast NASA Launch Schedule had you wanted to plan a visit this late summer or fall.
1. Looking toward the Delta launch pad.
3. Rumbling liftoff.