posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 07:00 PM
. . .. Well for an East coast launch I guess. See, that was a Delta II from the Cape and I launched Atlas IIAS from the Western Range in Vandenberg
California- so a little bit biased for a couple of reasions. The Delta is hardly bigger than a bottle rocket- infact those nozzels are about the size
of a house plant pot!
As too your questions: Do the solid boosters burn up? No not usually, they are jettisoned too low to get up the speed necessary to create the high
heat. They splash down and the Navy sometimes uses them for target practice and then they sink to become fish habitats or they are retrieved.
Danger to civilians: no- not normally. Each range, we have 2: East and West (Siiide) coordinate and exclusion zone free of air and boat traffic
looking like a pie slice with the pointy end at the launch point (more or less- some differences if you look close in) The zone gets wider further
into the rockets flight path because it will be going faster and cover more distance later on- and it should be higher thereby complicating the
problem. Luckily, we have range officers called the MIFCO who has only to push a button to destroy the way ward rocket- even manned ones
nukes do not have self destruct)
Coincidentally, the US fires all of its space launches away from population centers - with no over flights unlike many other newly space fairing
nations- in 90% of thinhs this means launching towards the sea.
If you liked this video check out one from an Atlas V (not mine but still way cool) launch- WoW it was too cool you could see the payload fairings
sep and each booster segment- it was "too" real- almost like a CGI