Iridium launch observed

Bradley P. Allen (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 22:43:50 -0800

I watched the Iridium launch from the deck of my house in Hermosa Beach, CA 
(N 33.86 W118.396 30m) this evening.  I was able to follow it using 20x80 
binoculars from first visibility at 10:02:55 rising over the Santa Monica 
mountains through to first stage engine cutoff about 5 minutes later.  Both 
SRB jettison events were easily seen,  and I could follow the second set of 
SRBs tumbling and trailing the main rocket for about 20 seconds.  Engine 
cutoff looked really cool, with the exhaust forming a billowing "smoke 
ring" behind the vehicle, which I immediately lost afterwards.  Good luck 
to our Alaskan friends!