Atlas IIAS Launch (2004-08-31)

in Threespeak2 months ago (edited)

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This is video of a lauch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on August 31st, 2004 as seen from Cocoa Beach. The video isn't particularly great but this was a launch of some historical significance. It was the last launch of an Atlas II rocket (specifically the Atlas IIAS) as it has been replaced by subsequent Atlas designs and this was also the last launch at launch pad 36A before being demolished. There were a total of 68 launches from pad 36A between 1962 and 2004.

The payload was a national security payload simply designated "NROL-1” for the National Reconnaissance Office. The oracle known as the the Internet tells me that the payload was likely a data relay satellite dubbed "Quasar 15" and nicknamed "Nemesis" designed to transfer data in real time from reconnaissance satellites to a ground station in Virginia and to USAF aircraft on polar routes. Liftoff occurred at 7:17 p.m. For some interesting info on these satellites and what they do, see https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/sds-3.htm

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