Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nothing In The World Sounds Quite Like This.......

Except maybe a Titan IV launch.

The first rocket I watched live was an Atlas Centaur that lofted a NAVSTAR Block-1 bird from Vandenbeg AFB. My first wife's Uncle Tony worked for Rockwell, and was able to get us passes to the VIP viewing area.

I saw one more Atlas launch, and then a Titan launch, at Vandenberg before he transferred from that program to another one.

I didn't get to see any more live launches until I started to work at Sea Launch, where I went on 18 launches.

I stumbled across this on YouTube and it reminded me of the Titan launch I saw.


18 comments:

  1. Well, I'm jealous that you saw a Titan IV launch. I was supposed to see one up close at CCAFS, but my partner got called away, and I had to stay on station through the launch. But I could feel it through the walls of the building. There's nothing else like it, short of a Saturn V.

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    1. It was the loudest thing I've ever heard. We were a couple of miles away and the ground shook.

      Scared my ex-wife!

      The Zenit 3SL rockets we used at Sea Launch were much smaller. They weighed around one million pounds fully loaded, and had about twice that amount of thrust.

      They were little scooters compared to the Titan, and were gone over the horizon in around 8 minutes.

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  2. I envy your sea launch experience.

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    1. The five years I spent there working for Boeing were the highlight of my working career.

      The four years working for Energia not so much!

      Delete
  3. You not only hear them, you FEEL them! They vibrated your entire thoracic cavity!!!

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    1. Yep.....like a Top Fuel drag racing car!

      The first time I saw one of those I was mightily impressed. It reminded me of the old joke "You wonder where they got strong enough bolts to hold it all together"....

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  4. I've been lucky enough to be on the Cape for a few launches, but never one of those or a Titan IV. I was there for a night launch of the shuttle, one or two flights before Challenger. It really is an amazing experience, like nothing else.

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  5. I never got to see a shuttle launch, or landing, but I heard her go over numerous times on her way to landing at Edwards.

    The double boom was very distinctive compared to a regular sonic boom.

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  6. Saw a launch at Vandenburg back in the early 80's when I was working in Santa Maria. We were outside working in the shop-yard, and all kinds of power equipment was making noise: chop saws cutting metal, grinders running, welders welding and the radio was turned up to 11 just to hear some music and guys had to shout instructions back and forth just to be heard...and over all that stupid noise one sound began that grew louder and louder and LOUDER LOUDER and finally over the top of the building we could see a bright light and a column of smoke and it drowned out all the other noise. Wow. I don't know what rocket it was but it was big. Shuttle practice?

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    1. Probably a Titan, as they never launched a shuttle from VAFB.

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  7. Old neighbor in Googleopolis worked for Loral and put stuff into Sea Launch nosecones/payloads... He went to several launches and got sick down there. Some kind of tropical thing.

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    1. Oh, yeah, the Loral guys!

      Great bunch of guys to work with. I was probably on that launch if it happened in the 2004~2009 time.

      We've had several people get sick, and had to get them off the ship.

      If we were at the launch site (154*W, 0*N) we'd head to Kiribati, about 24 hours away. The US Coast Guard would send a C-130 down from Hawaii to pick up the person, and sometimes drop off their replacement.

      If they got sick as were were headed to/from the launch site, we'd usually divert to Hawaii, and the USCG would send out a chopper when we got close enough.

      Medical care on the ship was so-so at best.

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  8. ...wished I could have experienced a Saturn launch...three and a half miles away the ground trembled and they could feel the heat of her engines...

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    1. I've worked with guys that were there working on them.

      Birds and gators were found dead from the noise over a mile away.

      It's still the most powerful machine we've ever made.

      Delete
  9. Y'all a bunch of young-uns.

    Watched Minutemen get launched from Vandenburg AFB, then got the chance to see the Sprint and Spartans at Kwajalein shoot down the warheads. That was a rush.

    Watched Skylab get launched, from the 528 causeway. And all the Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz launches from the roof of my parents' house. Watched some of the craptastic Space Shuttles launch also, but you could never trust them to launch anywhere on time.

    My favorites were the exploding Deltas, because NASA and the USAF couldn't compare info on the exploding bolts.

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    1. I had a buddy who worked on the Sprint program. The first few launches were failures, as the guidance system "just stopped working", and the LV went spinning out of control.

      He said it took them a while to figure out the failure mode. Turns parts were being ripped loose in the circuitry by the extreme g force of the launch.

      Worked with another ex-NASA guy at McGraw-Edison. We hung around work after hours one night drinking beer and talking to a friend of his who still worked for NASA at a tracking station. His friend gave us the "countdown" on Skylab reentering.

      I was working for Sea Launch when NSS-8 went boom on the pad, and again when the LV carrying Intelsat 27 lost the pump to power the rocket nozzle gimbals. That one came down between the two ships, about a mile from the Sea Launch Commander. Felt like we got torpedoed!

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  10. Of course, this happened starting at age 4, as my dad was into Range Tracking stuff for the USAF.

    As a certified Adult, only some Shuttles and a few satellite launches before I moved from the Space Coast.

    Now I enjoy watching the sounding rockets go lightning hunting for the local (not so cow) college (hey, they have cows, and a nuclear reactor and a pretty good basketball team, too.)

    Can't wait until Musk starts launching his mega-monster...

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Keep it civil, please....