Atlantis Launch View (SE Virginia)
Sun, 12 Jan 97 05:14:40 PST

Hello SeeSat friends,

Enjoyed a nice view of the Atlantis main engine plumes 
from southeast Virginia on Sunday morning about 5 minutes 
after launch. First noticed the plumes in the south 
(el=10,az=160) as irregular and flashing (est. mag 4 to 
-1), rising to peak (el=20, az=110) and then the plumes 
became more steady in the last minute of the engine burn. 

The plumes were distinctly red and vectored downward about 
30 degrees with respect to the direction of ascent.

About 15 seconds after main engine cutoff (el=8, az=80), 
another bright flash occured. I understand from the launch 
profile that this was the jettisoning of the external 
tank. Binoculars presented a great view of the plume 
direction and colors.

I took a couple of time exposures and will see how they 
turn out. Even my wife and seven year old arose to see it 
in -2C weather. The previous two 51.6 degree night 
launches were obscured by rainy weather.

As a side note, we were involved with students who had an 
excellent conversation with US Astronaut John Blaha two 
weeks ago from the Amateur Radio satellite station at the 
Virginia Air and Space Center. See the ARGVASC URL below 
for a photo and media story link.

Good day,

jim byrd
01/12/97 05:14:40 EST (-5) 37.17N -76.57W
(ASOSV) ""

James, Cynthia, and Thomas Byrd <>
44 Sandra Drive 
Newport News, VA 23608 USA
757.874.3104 (h)
757.864.5961 (ofc)