What it was like to watch NASA’s next Mars lander launch to space
Our viewing spot to look at the launch is dubbed the “Gravel Pit” — and it definitely lives as much as its identify. The realm is actually a big plot of rocks and filth on the facet of a small cliff. It’s touted as the perfect place to look at the rocket take off. That’s, if the fog lets up.
I’m someplace deep inside Vandenberg Air Drive Base in Southern California, and I’m about to witness the launch of NASA’s InSight lander. The spacecraft is slated to experience into area on prime of an Atlas V rocket, the premier automobile of the United Launch Alliance. The mission will mark the primary time NASA has ever launched a spacecraft to a different planet kind the West Coast. And it’s additionally my first time to see a launch from California.
The rocket is supposedly just a few miles in entrance of me, however I can’t make out a factor. The close by marine layer that types off the California coast has creeped inland, and it looks like I’m standing in the midst of a dense cloud. At 4AM, it makes for an eerie scene right here within the pit. The darkness is closing in round us, and the temperature of the mist appears to maintain dropping. Some flood lights illuminate the realm, however we can’t see past 100 yards out.
I’m with a big gaggle of journalists and videographers, all of whom are clustered on the facet of the cliff, hoping to get shot of the rocket. We’ve been warned that the fog could also be too thick to see the launch, however I’m hopeful. All of the launches I’ve seen earlier than have created a blinding mild which have practically burned my eyes. Absolutely, the sunshine from the rocket’s ignition will pierce by way of the clouds, I believe.
Earlier than lengthy, the ultimate countdown is upon us. Because of a speakerphone mounted on a close-by trailer, we will hear the flight controllers in mission management saying that each one methods are able to go. “Go Atlas. Go Centaur. Go InSight!” the controllers proclaim, referring to the rocket, its higher stage, and its payload. A cheer erupts within the crowd. The flood lights are turned off so we will get the perfect view for our cameras, and within the background we hear the final countdown: “5… 4… three… two… one…”
To see how what our viewing expertise was like, watch the video above. It definitely turned out to be a mission I gained’t neglect.
Supply hyperlink – https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/6/17324254/nasa-insight-mars-lander-atlas-v-rocket-launch