Delta II/COSMO-SkyMed Satellite Launch
(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below.)
The second Italian COSMO-SkyMed mission was launched on a Delta-II booster at 6:31 PM PST on Saturday, December 8, 2007. In order to place it in the same orbital plane as the first COSMOS-Skymed satellite, the launch window was only one second long. The launch had been scrubbed due to upper level winds two minutes before launch on Wednesday. Lower level winds prevented a launch attempt on Friday. Turbulent weather conditions put the launch on Saturday in jeapardy.
The Delta-II ascended through some cloud decks shortly after launch. I used two cameras to capture the launch from ignition through burnout of the first stage. The two cameras shot sequences of thirty-second long exposures that were stacked to produce this composite image.
The arching trajectory of the Delta-II carried it through the constellations Aquila and Capricorn. The first stage burned out near the constellation Grus.
This is a composite of four thirty-second long exposures, each of which is displayed below.
The Delta-II launched late in this exposure.
During this exposure, the Delta-II ascended through a cloud deck and then disappeared behind foreground clouds.
The rocket was obscured by clouds during most of this exposure. The four solid fuel boosters burned out and were jettisoned near the end of the exposure.
The Delta-II continued its ascent on the power of its liquid fueled core after the boosters were jettisoned.
This composite of four frames shows the burnout of the first stage, four minutes and 36 seconds after launch, and the beginning of the burn of the second stage five seconds later. The second stage engine is much smaller and burns with a dimmer flame than the first stage. The three frames below show the same part of the sky.
This exposure caught the first thirty seconds of the second stage burn. It has been processed to make the rocket more visible.
This exposure caught the second thirty seconds of the second stage burn. There is a hint of a cloud where the second stage ignited. The upper stage of the Delta-II exited the frame before the end of the exposure. The second stage burned for six minutes and fifty seconds.
This composite image has been processed to improve the visibility of the second stage burn.
More Vandenberg AFB launch photography.
You can buy a 2014 calendar featuring my photographs of rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Photos of thirteen rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base:
Pegasus-XL/Wide-Field Infra-red Explorer (WIRE) March 4, 1999
Atlas-IIAS/Terra December 18, 1999
Delta II/Gravity Probe B, April 20, 2004
Minotaur/Streak September 22, 2005
Titan IV/National Reconnaissance Office satellite, October 19, 2005
Minuteman III, February 16, 2006
Minuteman III, April 2, 2008
Target Launch Vehicle, September 24, 2008
Delta-II/GeoEye 1, September 6, 2008
Delta II/Jason 2, June 20, 2008
Delta II/COSMO-Skymed, October 24, 2008
Taurus/Orbiting Carbon Observatory, February 24, 2009
Delta-II/Worldview 2, October 28, 2009
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