Return to Spacecraft


(MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging)

On Sunday afternoon (08-01-04), around 17:00 EDT, Don, Matt, and I started a trip to Jetty Park, which is located just south of Cape Canaveral. We were hoping to see the launch of Messenger, a science mission to the planet Mercury. Although the weather was horrible, we hoped that a couple of hours and a few hundred miles would make a significant difference. Everything went perfect. We had some awesome views of the magnificent light display and the majestic rocket while it was waiting on the launchpad. This image was taken through a telescope from the pier in Jetty Park.


The view of the Delta rocket on the Launchpad while it was brightly lit up by powerful lights was truly awe-inspiring. This image gives an indication of what we could see with our eyes or a small pair of binoculars.


While driving towards Jetty Park, we noticed that we could see the rocket from the high bridges on the causeway. So we parked the car, got out, and took some pictures through Matt's telescope. The rocket is a little over-exposed in order to bring out the interesting looking foreground and the bright lights that reached way up into the sky.


We arrived fairly early and deciced to drive around a little to see if we could find a spot where the whole rocket was visible. Instead, we found this gorgeous view of the Moon and rocket over a tranquil lake.


Another interesting sight was this rundown observatory. Matt and Don are checking out the old signs that told us that it was indeed very old and that it was used to track launches.


As I mentioned, everything went perfect, except for one little detail ...

the rocket did not launch that morning.

Several minutes before take-off, they scrubbed the mission for the day, due to bad weather. It launched the next morning (08-03-04)

So I was forced to see the launch on the news.