A NASA lunar mission that launched from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia was seen throughout Connecticut Friday evening.
Connecticut residents, especially on the shoreline, had a great view of the rocket. During the rocket’s first stage a very distinct rocket plume and smoke trail was visible from CTTechJunkie’s vantage point in Westbrook Connecticut. Watch our video above to see what it looked like during our live stream Friday evening.
The launch sent NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment (LADEE) into Earth’s orbit. It will soon begin a gradual transfer to lunar orbit where it will measure what might be in the moon’s “atmosphere.” Apollo astronauts noticed a glow on the horizon during lunar sunrises and scientists have long suspected the moon has a thin atmosphere of dust and perhaps other gases. LADEE is also equipped with an experimental laser-based communications system to speed the flow of data from the moon back to earth.
LADEE launched on a Minotaur V rocket from the Orbital Sciences Corporation. The rocket system was derived from the cold war era “peacekeeper” missiles that were each capable of delivering 10 nuclear warheads to multiple targets.
Check out Orbital’s website for more information on the rocket used to launch LADEE. Future flights from Wallops should also be visible from Connecticut depending on conditions.