MMII VAFB Launch Observed Jan. 18

From: Jake Rees (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 19:47:45 PST

  • Next message: Robin R. Wier: "Re: MMII VAFB Launch Observed Jan. 18"

    Tuesday morning, I had been pessimistic about being able to see anything due
    to extensive clouds.  However, as sunset approached, it got better and
    better and at 6 PM, there were only a few clouds and nothing much in my view
    to the west towards Vandenberg.
    I saw it from near my home across an athletic field and school roof.  It
    launched about 20 min. into the window.  First sighted coming up over a tree
    on the horizon, it appeared as a short elongated orange flame through
    binoculars.  As it climbed various flashes were seen and stages dropping off
    could be seen as "sparks" behind the rocket.  A dim smoke trail could be
    seen behind the missile's exhaust.  After over 1:15 from liftoff, it became
    very bright and white and a fan-shaped display suddenly grew out from the
    exhaust.  My friend said it looked like an angel.  This display remained in
    the sky for about a minute before fading somewhat abruptly.  This most
    interesting part of the display, I think, was looking down the tailpipe of
    the missile exhaust as it was high into space and the fan-shape mostly below
    it, was crystallized fuel propellent catching the sunrays.  After it was all
    gone, a dim light blue patch of color remained in the sky for a few minutes.
    I also recorded it on camcorder; camcorder in right hand, binoculars in left
    hand, and split my time between looking through each and just looking naked
    I would think there may be video of this certainly on local LA TV news and
    maybe nationally and worldwide.
    -- Jake Rees
        Burbank, California
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