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cool new opportunity, and you guys are involved in a way....

Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior MemberPosts: 3,918 Senior Member
Just found out earlier today that I got selected as part of NASA's social media campaign, to cover a satellite launch on July 1 from Vandenberg AFB. it'll be a nighttime launch, and I'll be given access for the day preceding the launch as well as during the launch to take photos, on the condition that I share them generously via social media.

while that's mostly Facebook for me, I will also be posting here.

this is on my life-long bucket list, right below photographing an active volcano and/or a tornado, and above photographing Beyonce in the nude.

now I just need to clear my appointment calendar for the duration of the trip!

Replies

  • WetdogWetdog Senior Member Posts: 5,237 Senior Member
    Coooolll!!!
    I find the assault on free thought disturbing,
    I find the willingness to give it up frightening.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 25,524 Senior Member
    Just remember to take that left turn at Albuquerque.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • jbillyjbilly Senior Member Posts: 5,587 Senior Member
    What a great opportunity. I have been working in the space industry for almost 15 years now and have never had the chance to see a launch, it is on my bucket list also. Hopefully it will be a nice clear evening at Vandy. Not sure if you have made you travel plans or not, but if you are for sure going book your hotel ASAP. There isn't much around there except Lompoc and from what I here at launch time it gets full there fast.

    It is even cooler for pictures that it is night launch....I am anxious to see your shots.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    Congrats! Sounds awesome.
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Awesome...

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • DogwoodDogwood Member Posts: 63 Member
    Is that the OCO-2 launch? Sounds like a spacecraft whose purpose is right up your alley! I won't be at Vandenburg for the launch, but will be on Comm here in Denver. I get to say one line before launch .... "Guidance is working no issues and is ready to proceed with launch". And yes, the launch time does suck!

    Best regards,
    Scott
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    Yep that's the one!

    For those wondering, OCO 2 is the orbital carbon observatory. A conspiracy to use "science" to undermine the world economy by studying greenhouse gasses which of course aren't real.
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 10,500 Senior Member
    Great news.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • creekguycreekguy Senior Member Posts: 4,092 Senior Member
    Yep that's the one!

    For those wondering, OCO 2 is the orbital carbon observatory. A conspiracy to use "science" to undermine the world economy by studying greenhouse gasses which of course aren't real.




    What a cool opportunity. Hope you have a great time. You know, the Beyonce nudes would do more for the Social Media campaign than any humdrum launch.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 25,524 Senior Member
    Pismo Dunes should also provide you with some interesting landscapes to photograph.
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • jbillyjbilly Senior Member Posts: 5,587 Senior Member
    Scott,
    Assuming you are at Vandenburg now? Any pictures to share yet?

    Sounds like everything is on track.
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d367/status.html

    The non-Butner pics:
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d367/flow/
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 25,524 Senior Member
    My brother's new job was involved with this one.

    http://www.space.com/26383-nasa-flying-saucer-test-ldsd.html
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • Scott ButnerScott Butner Senior Member Posts: 3,918 Senior Member
    so, the trip was fun but the actual launch was a big disappointment.

    Day 1. Left home at 7:00 a.m. in our rented 2013 Camaro. We had actually rented a little econo-car, but it turned out they assigned us a hatchback and I need an actual trunk to put my camera gear in for safe stowage. Our rental car place in town is very small, so the only car they had available was the Camaro. "Oh, I guess you can twist my arm and I'll take it...."

    the drive to Arroyo Grande is just under 1,000 miles. Hot car nothwithstanding, we got into town around 1:30 a.m. for an average speed (including gas stops, food, etc) of under 55 mph. We both tend to drive pretty near the speed limit but will note that while the Camaro doesn't sound like much while cruising, when you stomp your foot on the gas in the passing lanes on US 97 through central oregon, it does 60 --> 100 mph surprisingly quickly, with a very sexy exhaust note.

    Day 2 -- 4 hours after we arrive, it's time for me to get up and head down to Vandenberg AFB for a briefing. After a morning social media press conference where we met several of the project managers for the project, we embarked on a bus tour of the base, which mostly consisted of seeing launch towers off in the misty distance. The day ended with a speech by NASA administrator Charles Bowen, who is a veteran of 4 space shuttle missions. It was situated in front of the launch pad for "our" rocket, so we got to see the workers climbing around the scaffolding in last minute prep.

    around 1 a.m. we return to Vandenberg to the observation area for the launch. The fog is so thick that you can barely see your hand in front of your face, much less the launch pad, 5 miles away. Still, the countdown was exciting, as the stands are filled not only with social media folks, but families of people who worked on the spacecraft and rocket. It's fun being reminded of the kinship that comes from working on something important.

    T minus 1 minute and the excitement in the air is palatable. Technicians voices are rising in pitch as one by one, final checks on systems are counted off on the checklist. Then, at around T minus 46 seconds, one of the technicians pauses. The sound suprression water pump is NOT checking OK.

    The launch window is only 30 seconds wide. if they can fix this in the next half minute, the launch can continue. if not, it's a scrub.

    it's a scrub. Moans and sighs from the audience. "Come back tomorrow night folks" we're told -- same bat time, same bat channel.

    hour long drive back to the hotel. Arrive at 4 a.m. and decide that when we wake, we'll go explore the other options -- perhaps find a mountain top somewhere above the clouds.

    Day 3. Wake up 4 hours after returning to the hotel. Can't fall back to sleep. What the hell, let's go driving. We head to Santa Barbara -- weather is looking more promising even before we get out of town. Spend an hour talking to Aussie tourists by the side of the road, watching porpoises in the ocean and photographing pelicans. Head up into the hills -- here's a nice peak, view towards the ocean -- maybe this would make a good plan b location?

    Head back to Vandenberg. Grab quick dinner, decide to look at the view from the launch viewing area since the fog isn't in.

    Arrive around 8 -- looks promising. By 9 p.m. the light had faded enough to show off the lighting on the rocket ship.

    14386350460_27d21c69cf_b.jpguntitled shoot-0405-Edit-1-2 by Scott Butner, on Flickr

    remember - this is from 5 miles out -- the nearest we'll be allowed. Hey, no need for "plan B" if this holds....

    check again at 10:30. Yep. Still there.

    Try to nap in the car, about 1/4 mi from the viewing area. doesn't work that well --a few of the mosquitoes have followed us inside. spend a couple of hours swatting them.

    1:30 a.m. -- head back to the launch area. it's a short walk, but depressing one. the fog is thick -- not as bad as the night before but still very limited visibility. We've been told that you can still see the rocket glow and hear the sound, so we figure "we'll stay here, rather than driving another hour SOUTH...."

    Bad decision.

    By 2 a.m. they have the countdown on the PA system. Excitement building again. Two cameras set up on tripods, hoping against hope that we see SOMETHING -- ANYTHING! -- to take a photo of. Earlier in the week I'd launched an indiegogo site to allow people to contribute towards the trip -- several online friends had asked for that -- and I now have more than $900 of other people's money --really want to bring something back that warrants their kindness.

    2:53 a.m. Countdown is down to the final 10 seconds. The crowd counts with the announcer. We hear "ignition" and see nothing through the mist. 20 seconds later, the sound arrives, the rocket is now more than a mile up, and we still see nothing.

    the sound is like that of a military jet, putting on the afterburners. Except muffled, thanks to the fog. There are some nice low frequency harmonics that shake the ground a bit, but it pales in comparison to my neighbor's Honda when he drives away with the subwoofers thumping.

    Oh well.

    3:15 a.m. Hop in the car. We've had about 5 hours sleep in the past two days. 20 hours of driving ahead of us, and both of us have meetings tomorrow that we can't miss. This will be interesting.

    the drive through CA and OR was actually pretty uneventful, other than the occasional hallucination from our sleep deprived brains. Arrive at my house at 10 p.m. -- Keith still has 2.5 hours more to go to Spokane.

    going to be sad to have to return the Camaro. Several of my FB friends have offered to bring their bikinis and high heels over for a quick modeling session with it, but I think I'll pass -- sleep sounds better.

    more pics later. But that about sums it up.
  • jbillyjbilly Senior Member Posts: 5,587 Senior Member
    going to be sad to have to return the Camaro. Several of my FB friends have offered to bring their bikinis and high heels over for a quick modeling session with it, but I think I'll pass -- sleep sounds better.

    This is the most depressing thing ever.

    Sorry it was foggy at Vandenberg, but as you have found out, that is the rule not the exception there.
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 10,500 Senior Member
    First in with that's what happens when politics and pork picks base and launch sites. :)

    Better luck next time, Scott.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.

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