It is Groundhog Day. And yes, as always, we watched the movie. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Sooooooooooooooo much to love on so many levels.
SpaceX did launch out of Vandenberg, 116 miles as the crow flies to our northwest. And the booster came back and landed at the launch site, which was spectacular. Watch the video!
For most Vandenberg launches they take a southerly route off the California coast, and particularly for evening or night launches the booster comes into sight, climbing up over the hill to our west about a minute after launch, and then being visible through first stage shutdown and separation, second stage ignition, and first stage boostback burn, with the second stage sometimes (at night) being visible all the way to the southern horizon where it’s all the way down past Cabo San Lucas.
So today, I decided to go out, climb up on the roof so that I could get a better view, and see if I could do a Facebook Live video to show the world the glory of a Vandenberg launch as seen from the west San Fernando Valley!
That might not have worked out so well.
Yeah. So windy. I had no idea that most of the time the wind noise was drowning out every word I said.
And given that it was a day launch it was hard to see much. Given the Return To Launch Site (RTLS) nature of the launch (as opposed to landing on a drone barge at sea off the Mexican coast) I suspect this wasn’t a southernly launch. (Given the security and secrecy around this launch of an intelligence agency satellite, they won’t be confirming.)
And what you probably can’t hear (I couldn’t when I watched) is that at some point there was a loud crash behind me as the wind blew over the ladder that I had used to get up onto the roof. Oops!
Fortunately, the Long-Suffering Wife was at home and able to lift the ladder back up. All was well.
Except for the fact that we didn’t see the rocket.
Later in the year will be more Vandenberg launches. Maybe I’ll get up to see one in person this year, or maybe I’ll climb up on the roof in the wind and the dark for EXTRA excitement.