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I was leaving my apt. in Cal, on the way to get some food. I was driving when I noticed a very irregular pattern of a light in the sky. Since it was night I knew that I the brightness of the light was irregular and slow moving. I slowed down to be a better glimpse of the LIghts. They were really slow moving and, by the pattern of smoke they were leaving, it was hard to dismiss the lights as a slow moving planes. The were really bright and the heads, and the trail left behind were like a zig zag pattern. I wasn't really afraid, but more amazed on how alluring the sight was.
I have held on to these pictures for quite some time, but figure that it would bother me if I can at least figure out what I was looking at.
Can anyone help me?
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE , It was a picture-perfect pre-dawn Wednesday and a picture-perfect launch at White Sands Missile Range.
Hundreds of miles above southern New Mexico, it was a picture-perfect impact between two missiles.
The morning sky above the Tularosa Basin was painted in every color of the rainbow , hues ranging from iridescent purples to emerald greens and pastel blues, pinks and electric whites against the darkness of space.
The pre-dawn art show was the result of the third of five tests planned at White Sands Missile Range to determine the effectiveness of THAAD , Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile. And military officials said the test went better than they could have hoped.
Rocket launch paints sky with breath-taking scene
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: September 23, 2005
A grand spectacle in the evening sky created by a spacebound rocket delighted stargazers and frightened the uninformed across hundreds of miles in the southwestern United States on Thursday.
The six-story Minotaur rocket soared off its launch pad at 7:24:29 p.m. PDT (10:24:29 p.m. EDT; 0224:29 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying an experimental military spacecraft.
Billed before launch as a potentially stunning blastoff, the mission delivered with a fast-growing cloud of colors painted in the darkening sky. Residents throughout central and southern California were treated to ringside seats, but folks as far away as Utah, Nevada and Arizona witnessed the incredible sight. Television stations and local authorities reported being flooded with calls wondering what had happened.
The Minotaur's ascent to reach the desired orbit around Earth was timed perfectly to produce a spectacular "twilight phenomenon" that occurs when rockets or missiles are launched just before sunrise or shortly after sunset. Unburned fuel particles and water drops in the rocket's contrail freeze in the less dense upper atmosphere and get reflected by sunlight at high altitudes to generate such breath-taking scenes. The winds aloft twist the exhaust cloud, giving it a corkscrew effect.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, positioned along the Pacific coastline 140 miles northwest of Los Angeles, has hosted more than 1,700 launches since December 1958. But only a fraction of the flights have displayed such a spectacle.
The rarity prompted many space enthusiasts to plan ahead for Thursday's launch, scouting out prime viewing spots to observe the moment. It was the first such twilight launch in several years, and weather conditions didn't spoil the show.
The Orbital Sciences-managed Minotaur rocket uses decommissioned first and second stages from a Minuteman 2 ICBM missile and solid-propellant motors from the commercial Pegasus rocket program for its third and fourth stages. The vehicle is designed to provide the U.S. government with reliable access to space for small satellites.
The $20 million Minotaur deployed into a sun-synchronous orbit around the planet's poles the Space Test Program-R1 mission's Streak satellite. Built by General Dynamics C4 Systems/Spectrum Astro Space Systems in Gilbert, Arizona, the craft will be operated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
"Streak is a technology demonstrator whose objective is to demonstrate rapid response, short mission life, low Earth orbit space technologies and gather information about the low Earth orbit environment," a DARPA spokesperson said.
Information released by DARPA indicates Streak is fitted with two instruments -- an ion gauge and an atomic oxygen sensor.
"The vehicle will characterize the orbital regime, demonstrate operational feasibility from a command and control standpoint and also from a platform perspective for future DoD missions," the spokesperson added.
DARPA is the Defense Department organization whose mission is "to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use."
Streak's price tag is classified.
This was the fourth Minotaur launch. The Air Force says another is planned on December 18 from Vandenberg to loft a cluster of tiny satellites for a joint Taiwan-U.S. project, called COSMIC, to study the atmosphere.
Originally posted by Komodo
1). WTH are missiles doing all the way out there!!!!
2) Where do these missiles land???? Do do they just explode them over innocent cites and let the hot shrapnel rain down on helpless victims below???
3). So, if some one can locate a base anywhere CLOSE to Fresno...plz.. feel free to post it.. however, usually..........they fire them OVER the water.. NOT populated areas...
Originally posted by Komodo
reply to post by Nohup
nice try but, you have no source to PROVE where they land; anyone can post a pic of an island and say.. "meh .. they land here.. meh"
NOR do you have any source of what exactly WHAT they are. they MAY look like a missle but you have no proof.. so ..