OT: Vandenberg AFB Scud Launch Observed

From: Brian Webb (kd6nrp@earthlink.net)
Date: Fri Nov 15 2002 - 00:15:13 EST

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    Hi All:
    
    As you may know, two Scud missiles were scheduled for launch from Vandenberg
    AFB during the coming weeks. With little advanced notice to the public or
    news media, the first Scud was launched this morning at 11:25 PST (19:25
    UTC). My associates and I were lucky enough to see this event.
    
    Although my office is 115 statue miles (185 kilometers) southeast of the
    launch site, I decided to make an effort to look for the launch. The weather
    was very clear and I figured that the liquid-fueld Scud would briefly
    produce a vapor trail as it passed through the contrail zone (40,000 to
    45,000 feet altitude).
    
    The launch window opened at 10:00 PST, but the launch was delayed until
    11:25. Just before launch I went over to my coworker's cubicle which has a
    west-facing window. We were scanning the western horizon when somebody said
    "What's that?"
    
    Sure enough, there was a thin, white, squiggly contrail - typical of a
    missile launch. The contrail was curved and led away from the coast towards
    the west-southwest. Unlike an aircraft contrail, this one immediately began
    to dissipate and become more and more transparent. After three minutes or
    so, it was invisible.
    
    I either saw the Scud as it was actually producing the contrail or a few
    seconds after it left the contrail zone. It was rather interesting.
    
    An MP3 file of a news story about the Vandenberg AFB Scud launches is posted
    at
    
    	http://home.earthlink.net/~kd6nrp/library.htm
    
    The file is named "scud.mp3".
    
    Regards,
    
    Brian W.
    Southern California
    
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