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Delta II

ICESat-2 (approx. date)
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Live MER B RocketCam Views Returned

2003 Jul 08

After multiple slips, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover B (MER B, or "Opportunity") spacecraft launched Monday night, July 7. This launch included two Ecliptic-supplied RocketCam views, both from cameras mounted on the second stage of the Boeing Delta II Heavy rocket.

Initially, a RocketCam mounted on the outside skin of the Delta's second stage and looking aft captured views of first stage ignition, liftoff from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, strap-on solid-rocket booster operation and separation, first-stage main engine cutoff, first-stage separation from the second stage and payload fairing deployment. Early parts of this sequence were obscured by unusually heavy sheets of water running over the camera lens cover — a result of accumulated frost on the skin of the rocket melting away shortly after liftoff.

The second RocketCam captured views looking forward from inside the Delta's payload fairing, including fairing separation and deployment, operation of the second stage-based spacecraft spin-up table, MER B separation from the second stage, and ignition of the third stage solid-rocket kick motor that sent the spacecraft on its way to Mars. Ground tracking assets in the Pacific Ocean were able to acquire a firm lock on some of the RocketCam transmissions during this sequence, but some of the more interesting events were missed in feeds broadcast by NASA.

For the latest mission status, see Spaceflight Now.

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