[amsat-bb] [Launch Alert] Delta IV Heavy Launch

Rick Tejera saguaroastro at cox.net
Tue Jan 18 21:34:46 PST 2011

Hose of you on the west coast may be interested.

Clear Skies

Rick Tejera
Editor SACnews,
Public Outreach Coordinator
Saguaro Astronomy Club
Phoenix, Arizona
saguaroastro at cox.net 
K7TEJ, AMSAT 38452

-----Original Message-----
From: launch-alert-bounces at mailman.qth.net
[mailto:launch-alert-bounces at mailman.qth.net] On Behalf Of Launch Alert
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 21:21
To: Launch Alert
Subject: [Launch Alert] Delta IV Heavy Launch

                             LAUNCH ALERT
                              Brian Webb
                    Ventura County, California
                  launch-alert-editor at earthlink.net

                               2011 January 18 (Tuesday) 20:09 PST

                     Vandenberg AFB News Release
                           2011 January 18

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The first West Coast Delta IV
Heavy Launch Vehicle is scheduled to launch from Space Launch
Complex-6 here Jan. 20 at 1:08 p.m. PST.

This will be the largest rocket ever to launch from the West Coast of
the United States.

"This launch marks a significant milestone in our nation's space
capability" said Lt. Col. Brady Hauboldt, launch director. "We've
really restored a national capability for heavy lift on the Western
Range, something we have not had since the last of the Titan IV-Bs
flew out of Vandenberg. This extends our ability to cost effectively
deliver payloads of all sizes and compliments."

The launch follows three years of preparations and $100 million in
base infrastructure upgrades at SLC-6. It makes Vandenberg unique in
providing the full spectrum of space lift capability delivering
payloads of all sizes to orbit aboard the Minotaur through Delta II,
Atlas V and now the Delta IV, said Hauboldt.

While this is the first Delta IV HLV from Vandenberg, it will be the
fifth in the program's history. The first launch occurred in January
2004 from the East Coast.

The rocket will carry a national security payload for the NRO.



The Delta IV Heavy slated to lift-off from Vandenberg AFB on Thursday
is a rocket enormous size and power. For observers in close proximity
to the launch pad at south base, the launch should be impressive.

However, for observers further away, the display will be more subdued
because of the propellants the rocket uses and the time of day.

The Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle consists of three liquid oxygen and
hydrogen fueled Delta IV rockets that are joined together. The vehicle
does not use any solid fuel rocket motors.

Unlike solid fuel rockets or liquid fuel rockets that use solid fuel
strap-on motors for extra thrust, vehicles that rely entirely on
liquid propellants produce very little to no smoke trail. Such
vehicles may create a contrail when they pass through an area of the
atmosphere called the contrail zone, but this only lasts several

Burning solid rocket fuel produces a tremendous amount of light.
Burning liquid rocket propellants, on the other hand, also produce
light, but the amount is much less and the flame is semi-transparent
or clear.

The fact that the launch is scheduled for the early afternoon will
further impact launch viewing. The Sun will be high above the horizon
and the launch will occur against a bright sky background. This will
greatly reduce the maximum launch viewing distance.

Taking the above factors into account, persons without prior knowledge
of the launch may accidentally see it with the naked eye as far away
as 25 miles. People who are specifically looking for the launch may be
able to see it without optical assistance as far away as 50 miles.

Observers using binoculars or a telescope could possibly see the
launch as far away as 100 miles provided they look at the right area
of the sky at the right time.

People within 50 miles of the launch site or the Delta IV Heavy's
flight path should be able to hear the launch. In outlying areas, the
sound will probably arrive a few minutes after liftoff and consist of
a low frequency rumble.

The best place to view the launch will probably be near the south
end of the base. The idea is to get as close to the launch site as
possible while avoiding trespassing on government or private property
and staying clear of any low clouds or fog.

Regarding viewing areas, Vandenberg AFB Public Affairs recommends the
public go to Surf Beach to view the launch. But to hear the countdown
net they need to go to the Corral Road viewing location. Maps are
located on the Vandenberg AFB Public Affairs Facebook page at:


The launch should be visible to the naked eye provided you are close
enough. For better view, use binoculars (tripod mounted binoculars are
even better). Perhaps the best instrument for viewing the launch is
an astronomical telescope. Astronomical telescopes are especially well
suited for launch viewing and may provide an impressive view of the
Delta IV Heavy in flight.

Regardless of where you go to view the launch, park safely, be aware
of traffic or any other hazards, and obey the instructions of
military and public safety personnel.


                     LAUNCH AND COUNTDOWN STATUS

For launch and countdown status for the Delta IV Heavy/NRO launch,
consult the following sources:

   Web Sites with Countdown Status:




   Satellite Feeds:

      Begin Transmission (bars and tone) - 12:15 P.M.
      Broadcast Start: 12:43 P.M.
      Launch Time: 1:08 P.M.
      Satellite: AMC 1
      Transponder: C9
      Band: C-band analog
      Orbital Position: 103 degrees W.
      Carrier: SES AMERICOM
      Bandwidth: 36 MHz
      Uplink Freq: 6105 MHz (Vertical) 
      Downlink Freq: 3880 MHz (Horizontal)

   Twitter Updates: None announced


                       LAUNCH ALERT WEB PAGE

For information about this newsletter, including how to:

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   - Make a donation

Point your browser to www.spacearchive.info/newsletter.htm


Copyright 2011, Brian Webb. All rights reserved. This newsletter may
be distributed in its entirety without restriction. Excerpts may not
be reprinted or posted elsewhere without prior permission.


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