Posted by: Pluto Little Dippy | January 11, 2011

SDO Launch (KSC Part 3)

In early February, I accompanied my friends to visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch a space shuttle launch and get a special tour. Finally, we got to the real reason for our trip. The Solar Dynamics Observatory was about to be launched into space where it can study the sun in incredible detail.

Click to see how much information Little SDO will send us!

So I got together with my new friends, the Space Tweeps, and we went to a special viewing area to watch SDO blast off on an Atlas V rocket. And we waited. And we waited. Aaaaaand we waited.

Looking at Little SDO in the distance

And finally…. the launch got canceled. Not again! It was too windy to launch a rocket. Bummer. But that meant I got to hang out in Florida for one more day, as they would try and launch the rocket again the next day.

As we waited on Friday, our last chance to see the launch, we took a tour of the Apollo/Saturn V center. The Apollo program of the 1960s sent the first humans to the surface of the Moon on top of a large Saturn V rocket. One of these rockets was never launched and has been put on display for everyone to see. Nicole and I walked along the length of the largest rocket in the world, and we made a video just for you!

The time came once more to wait for the launch of the Atlas V carrying SDO. We huddled together against the wind, but finally, there was a break in the weather. We had liftoff! The rocket roared away from the launch pad, slowly at first, then faster and faster as it went to deliver SDO to its orbit. Along the way, we got a really cool sight:

Shockwave

George caught this amazing shot of the rocket

There was a small rainbow, called a sundog, high in the clouds on this sunny day. The rocket actually pierced through these clouds The soundwaves from the rocket actually made these cool waves in the clouds, which destroyed the rainbow! It was an unexpected and wonderful surprise.

With SDO safely on its way to do new science, I said goodbye to my wonderful new friends and came back to see my friends in Virginia. But I will never forget the awesome experiences I had watching our space program at work!

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