A colleague at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne sent me an email this evening to let me know that one of their rockets would be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, at 7:28 PM PST, this evening. Here's the photo from just a few minutes ago...
It gets dark early and since it's already dark in the forest, we had a perfect night sky for viewing. Shortly after lift-off, we saw a bright trail of fire moving upward. As the rocket headed off, the trail turned into a fireball as we looked directly into the rocket from behind.I'm not a photographer, but I managed to get a shot without the flash. This does not do it justice.

Apparently, it was a Delta 2 Rocket, carrying an Italian Radar Satellite into space. Details and the launch sequence are available here.

Discussion/Comments (1):

Delta 2 Rocket Launch in the Night Sky from PMC

We didn't see it as clearly (I don't think) as you guys did, Eric, but I once got up at 3:00 am to watch a launch and was rewarded with a view like you describe (i.e. from directly behind the vehicle) where I could see the annulus of the plume. It was absolutely spectacular; a rare sight.

Posted at 10/24/2008 11:08:49 PM by Rick Ladd

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