Atlas 2A/UHF-F10 launch obs
Mon, 22 Nov 1999 23:38:18 EST

I just stepped back inside after watching an Atlas 2A rocket launch, carrying 
the Navy UHF-F10 spacecraft. Watching from my backyard in Orlando, the rocket 
took a few seconds to rise above the rooftops. The flame resembled the red of 
a traffic flare and as it rose above a thin haze, it grew brighter and larger 
as it approached ~40 degrees above my horizon (it was difficult to overcome 
an optical illusion of the rocket actually approaching, due to the increase 
in apparent size and clarity). As the arcing motion became more pronounced 
and the elevation began to move downward toward ~35 degrees, the red flame 
gave way to two bright flashes of white flame, before being replaced by a 
smaller, but still brilliant red glow. Unlike Shuttle SRB separations, I 
wasn't able to spot a glow from the separated stage.

As the second stage continued to move downrange, the low thin haze was again 
becoming a factor. I had to cup my hands around my eyes to block all of the 
light sources around my block and lost track of the rocket once or twice, 
before I saw the double (triple?) white flash of the second stage separation. 
Finally, after a little over 5 minutes, the tiny point of light moved below a 
neighbor's rooftop. 
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