Love And Rockets

November 20, 2013 |  by  |  Buzz  |  , ,

 

Minotaur 1, seen from Philadelphia | Photo: Bradley Maule

Rainbows end in pots of gold, Minotaurs lead to the Disney Hole | Photo: Bradley Maule

 

Part man, part bull; part science, part entertainment. NASA and the US Air Force launched an expendable Minotaur 1 rocket Tuesday evening, releasing a record 29 new satellites into orbit, adding to the 1,000+ already up there–like the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, and the GPS jawn on your phone. The launch occurred at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s eastern shore, on the other side of the bay from Chincoteague Island. The site’s south-southwest position relative to Philadelphia jibed with the city’s north-northeast/south-southwest axis, so photographically speaking, heading north for a view “due south” across the skyline down our tilted grid seemed like the move.

T-minus 10 seconds... we have liftoff | Phone screen captures, Bradley Maule

T-minus 10 seconds… we have liftoff | Phone screen captures, Bradley Maule

With a scheduled launch window of 7:30–9:15pm, I caught the 7 o’clock express to Fern Rock and hoped to make it in time to Albert Einstein Medical Center, as fine a vantage as any. With a nearly two hour window and a dying phone battery, I envisioned staring into the distant south, hands in pockets, hoping I’d maybe see it. But in a parking garage miracle, I found an outdoor electrical outlet not three feet from my tripod, plugged in my phone, and watched the NASA feed of the launch on Ustream, eagerly looking south-southeast at liftoff. Of course by this time, the rocket was already above the horizon, above the skyline, and thanks to the buffer–my own miscalculation–my camera missed the first few seconds of ascent. (I blame satellites.)

Nevertheless, for the three minutes or so Minotaur 1 sailed across the sky, it flickered between the other aircraft in an eastbound arc, its orange glow signing off to the flickering orange lights of the city–and earth–below.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.



2 Comments


  1. Nice work!

  2. You took me back to December 1972 when I watched on TV the launch at night of Apollo 17! I felt young once more reading your article and thought about the Apollo 17 launch when I was 19 years old then.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Reaching For The Heavens At Cret's Tower Of Chimes

Reaching For The Heavens At Cret’s Tower Of Chimes

May 26, 2017  |  Vantage

Turn a corner in Philadelphia and you will eventually run into a building or bridge designed by Paul Phillipe Cret. Celebrated for his broad, arched infrastructure and Neoclassical landmarks, not much is discussed of his cemetery architecture. Contributor Brian Horne takes a trip out to Montgomery County where a 172-foot tower designed by Cret sends a memorial park reaching towards the sky > more

Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

May 23, 2017  |  Vantage

The ships of the "Dead Fleet" at Pier 78 rise at low tide from their watery graves in the Delaware River. It's a curious sight, recalling a time when the riverbanks thrummed with a booming maritime industry. Philadelphia shipping historian Robert McNulty takes us on a salty voyage to uncover the backstory of South Philadelphia's ghost ship graveyard > more

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

May 19, 2017  |  Vantage

Hidden City editor Michael Bixler catches up with sustainable architect Jeremy Avellino to talk climate change, deep energy retrofits, and the power of passive house building. > more

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin's Grave

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin’s Grave

May 17, 2017  |  News

Benjamin Franklin's tombstone gets some desperately needed TLC. Tyler Horst has the story > more

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

May 15, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Gone, but not forgotten. The Shadow channels the ghost of the Henry J. Morton Guild House, a beautiful Victorian hall designed by famed Philadelphia architects Wilson Brothers & Company > more

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

May 12, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Kelson Northeimer takes a look at the history of the Gayborhood and its cultural transformation through lifestyle marketing and gentrification > more