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LASTEST VIDEO

RocketCam Success on Gravity Probe-B Launch

2004 Apr 20

Two Ecliptic-supplied RocketCam™onboard video systems were successfully employed today during the launch of NASA's Gravity Probe-B mission.

Following a few of the normal types of launch delays and a scrub on April 19, the planned launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California occurred right on time at 9:57 am PDT, U.S. west-coast time.

The NASA-generated launch webcast started approximately two hours before liftoff, a condensed version of which appears on our Gallery page.

Views from two separate onboard RocketCam cameras were featured. Both were mounted on the Delta II second stage inside the payload fairing looking forward. Each was positioned to view the GP-B solar arrays from this vantage point. The deployments started about 66 minutes after liftoff and took about 3 minutes to complete, though due to ground tracking antenna coverage limitations selected segments of the deployment sequence were lost. (The deployments took place while the Delta second stage/GP-B stack passed over central Europe and Scandinavia heading south to north.) GP-B spinup and separation from the second stage occurred around 75 minutes after launch, over the Earth's north pole, and the RocketCams captured this sequence.

See Spaceflight Now for a good overview article of the mission.

Spaceflight Now also offered an excellent minute-by-minute mission status page. This was the 30th successful launch since 1997 that included RocketCams.

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