Rant Air – Welcome Aboard!

Rant Air – Welcome Aboard! random header image

“One of these days, Alice…”

June 20th, 2008 · 3 Comments

It’s early early in the morning. 12:55 AM, to be exact. I’ve just put my daughter back to bed. We’d spent the last twenty minutes on our front lawn, staring westward in search of a rocket that was to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central coast of California between 12:46 and 12:55 AM.

At about 12:48, we caught sight of the Delta II rocket – appearing to us as a bright orange glow with a long tail. It rose from the horizon into the western sky and arced southward on its trajectory to put it’s payload into orbit. We watched it go, accelerating, as it lost it’s bright orange tail to become a not-quite-as-bright orange ball skipping across the south-western part of the sky to a point where it was due south of us. It suddenly became bright white and, with a puff of white smoke, its main booster cut out and we lost sight of it.

We sat on the lawn for several minutes, talking about where it was going and what it was going to do when it got there. We talked about how fast it moved. We talked about who was flying it.

As I tucked her back into bed she said, “Daddy, I want to fly on a rocket ship when I grow up!” Handing her her moon-clicker, I kissed her on her forehead and said, “To the moon, someday.”

The visible portion of tonight’s rocket flight lasted perhaps three minutes, but hopefully the memory of seeing it go will last my daughter a lifetime.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Faucett // Jun 23, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Discovery’s new miniseries “When we left Earth” has been fantastic, I think.

  • 2 Yerma // Jul 30, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I remember my mother getting us out of bed in the middle of one night to come out and see the Northern Lights. Same kind of wonder but we never found out what they were or what caused them until much later in life.

  • 3 Jim // Aug 4, 2008 at 3:54 am

    I remember a daylight launch out of Vandenberg in 1983 like it was yesterday. Pretty inspiring

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