Pegasus / TSX-5 launch observed

From: Richard Baldridge (RBaldridge@Filss.com)
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 09:19:09 PDT

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    This morning, I was able to spot the smoke trail of the 1st stage of the
    Pegasus rocket carrying the TSX-5 satellite into orbit.  As expected, the
    sight was not nearly as spectacular as a night launch, but I'll take it for
    what it's worth!  First sighting was 6:20:20am PDT, about 30 seconds before
    the end of the 1st stage burn, as the rocket climbed steeply in the
    southwestern sky.  The "flame" was bright orange and somewhat elongated -
    quite easy to see in 7x50 binoculars from my +100 mile range.  The smoke
    trail was quite evident even without optical aid.
    
    As the flame disappeared, a few seconds later I was able to see a "puff" of
    smoke as the stages separated.  The second stage "flame" became visible in
    the binocs, but very much fainter than the 1st stage and whiter in color.  I
    lost the trail about 6:21:40, well before predicted 2nd stage burnout.  The
    sky was very clear and blue, about 35 minutes after local sunrise.  For once
    I simply enjoyed the view and did not take any photos or videos.
    
    According to the SPACEFLIGHTNOW website, vehicle drop from the L-1011
    aircraft occurred at 6:19:30am PDT, about 12 minutes after the originally
    published "nominal" drop time.  First stage ignition occurred 5 seconds
    later at 6:19:35.  First stage burnout reportedly occurred at 6:20:53 with a
    short vehicle coast until 2nd stage ignition at 6:21:15.  Second stage
    burnout was at 6:22:15. 
    
    See the entire summary of the launch at:
    http://spaceflightnow.com/pegasus/tsx5/status.html
    
    RICK BALDRIDGE
    N37.272 W121.977  Campbell, CA USA
    
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