This Saturday morning at 5:46am, a Delta II rocket launch will be powering the NASA’s ICESat-2 spacecraft in orbit from the Vandenberg Airforce Base.
The last two launches have faced delays and we didn’t get the amazing show that was promised from the pictures (like this one, featuring SpaceX’s satellite launch). Computer models show that if the launch takes place at 6:00am, the vehicle enters sunlight at T+ 3m55s near the end of the first stage burn.
A 6:26am liftoff would put the Delta entering sunlight at T+ 1 min. 45 sec.
Sunrise is set to start at 6:36am.
If the aforementioned conditions are met, the bright flame from the rocket’s First Flame could make a portion of this launch visible for more than 120 miles, depending on cloud cover and other atmospheric conditions.
I know I’ll be waking up early for this show!
(and if you are a photog, please snap some shots here, I’d love to use them for future stories like this!)