SIRTF RocketCam(TM) Images

SIRTF/Delta-II-rocket launch ignition (aft-view); night launch.
At ignition, the main liquid engine plus 6 of the 9 solid-rocket boosters (SRBs) are started.


SIRTF/Delta-II-rocket launch lift-off (aft-view)

SIRTF/Delta-II-rocket launch during water-deluging while clearing the tower (aft-view)

SIRTF/Delta-II-rocket ground-lit-SRB separation (aft-view), shortly after rocket goes supersonic.
The residue from the water-deluging is still not yet fully evaporated.
The 3 remaining "air-lit" SRBs ignite.

Just before air-lit-SRB separation at about 100,000-ft altitude (aft-view).

Air-lit-SRB separation (aft-view)

Air-lit-SRB separation (aft-view); spent motor casing illuminated by main-engine exhaust plume
(note the two high-temperature regions of the plume).

First-stage separation (aft-view); second-stage engine ignition
(foreground shows still-venting thermal blankets around propulsion tanks).

SIRTF just before separation from the second stage (forward-view);
gold areas are edge-on views of solar panels

For the SIRTF team:

Please see the above jpg stills derived from Ecliptic's two RocketCam(TM) cameras onboard the SIRTF launch. They are labeled according to mission sequence event. These are fairly heavily compressed compared to the original video stream, but you can still see most of the detail.

As you may have heard, the new water deluge system at the pad used for the Delta II Heavy really douses our aft-looking RocketCam pod, which first causes the video stream to appear as if it were taken from behind Niagra Falls. Once the Delta climbs out of that mess, the (relatively dirty) deluge water/steam runs off and dries out and leaves an awful film on the camera cover that largely stays put. During ascent, the heat from the attached solids burns some of this scum away, but not all. Inspite of all of this, you can still enjoy the onboard view of most key events.

The forward-looking RocketCam installed in the payload fairing normally captures the pre-sep and post-sep events, as was planned for SIRTF. Unfortunately, the prime tracking site in Australia did not capture any of the planned video (or telemetry?), so the sep sequence was lost. Fortunately, Ascension Island -- in some unscheduled activity -- caught a minute or so of the spacecraft before it separated, so at least you have something to see just before SIRTF entered its mission in heliocentric orbit!

Feel free to route these stills to others on the team. They were derived from copies of the raw RocketCam video tapes supplied to us by NASA at the Cape. Dan Maas at Maas Digital LLC (the creator of the nifty MER mission computer animations) extracted the stills from the video. RocketCam(TM) is Ecliptic's family of onboard imaging systems for rockets, spacecraft and other remote platforms.

Best of success with the SIRTF checkout phase and mission!

Rex Ridenoure, CEO (and JPL'er 1986-1997!)
Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation
www.eclipticenterprises.com
398 West Washington Blvd., Suite 100
Pasadena, CA 91103
rridenoure@eclipticenterprises.com
Cell: (626)278-0435
Desk: (626)798-2436 x403
Fax: (626)798-2251