TRACE from Palo Alto

Bart De Pontieu (bdp@cds.plasma.mpe-garching.mpg.de)
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 21:12:15 +0200 (MET DST)

Yesterday I saw the Pegasus launch of the TRACE satellite from Palo Alto.
Together with the people who built TRACE at the Lockheed Martin Solar and
Astrophysics Lab here, we first watched the drop-off on NASA-select and
then rushed outside. We saw the first stage ignition low in the west, just
above a cloud, and then a trail of a few degrees long, almost vertically
up. The trail was pretty bright (mag 0?) and quickly became broken and
'zigzaggedy' due to the winds at those altitudes. Peopl were pretty
enthusiastic, given that they spent a big part of the recent years
building the TRACE satellite.

It was the first rocket launch I've ever witnessed, only two days after
arriving here. I hope to see more of these Pegasus launches.

TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer) is apparently working fine
so far, which is good for me. It means I will hopefully have data to work
with during the next two years :-)

>From Palo Alto,
        Bart