LADEE Launch: Images and Videos from Our Readers

by Nancy Atkinson on September 7, 2013

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LADEE and the Milky Way: Launch of the LADEE Rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit and copyright: Jeff Berkes/Jeff Berkes Photography.

LADEE and the Milky Way: Launch of the LADEE Rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit and copyright: Jeff Berkes/Jeff Berkes Photography.

NASA’s newest mission to the Moon, LADEE, launched from Wallops Island in Virginia, lighting up the sky along the US East Coast, allowing millions to see the Minotaur V rocket’s brilliance with their own eyes. Some of our readers captured the views as they cheered on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer as it sailed safely to orbit.

See more images and video below, but first a quick update on how LADEE is doing: there was concern shortly after launch as during technical checkouts the LADEE spacecraft commanded itself to shut down the reaction wheels used to position and stabilize the spacecraft. According to the LADEE mission operations team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., this was determined to be the result of fault protection limits put in place prior to launch to safeguard the reaction wheels. The limits that caused the powering off of the wheels soon after activation were disabled, and the reaction wheels were successfully brought back online.

“Our engineers will determine the appropriate means of managing the reaction wheel fault protection program. Answers will be developed over time and will not hold up checkout activities,” said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager.

Everything else is checking out fine so far, so enjoy these views:

This video was taken by Richard Drumm, part of the NASA Social LADEE launch event, so he and the group were about 2 miles from the launchpad:

LADEE launch over World War II bunker from Cape May, New Jersey. This is a 7-image composite. Credit and copyright: Jack Fusco.

LADEE launch over World War II bunker from Cape May, New Jersey. This is a 7-image composite. Credit and copyright: Jack Fusco.

LADEE first stage separation, as seen from Fenwick Island, Delaware, about 50 miles away from Wallops Island Launch Complex. ‘I was completely floored to see how bright and dramatic the launch was from 50 miles away!’ said the photographer.  Credit and copyright: Marion Haligowski.

LADEE first stage separation, as seen from Fenwick Island, Delaware, about 50 miles away from Wallops Island Launch Complex. ‘I was completely floored to see how bright and dramatic the launch was from 50 miles away!’ said the photographer. Credit and copyright: Marion Haligowski.

LADEE launch as seen from Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Credit and copyright: Dan @awkwardrobots.

LADEE launch as seen from Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Credit and copyright: Dan @awkwardrobots.

LADEE spacecraft launching to the moon, as see on the roadside by Mount Olive, New Jersey. Credit and copyright: Scott MacNeill.

LADEE spacecraft launching to the moon, as see on the roadside by Mount Olive, New Jersey. Credit and copyright: Scott MacNeill.

This timelapse of the launch is from Chris Moran:

Rocket to the Moon from Wallops Island, VA, as seen from Gaithersburg, Maryland. Credit and copyright: Zach Stern.

Rocket to the Moon from Wallops Island, VA, as seen from Gaithersburg, Maryland. Credit and copyright: Zach Stern.

LADEE launch as seen from Louisa, Virginia. Credit and copyright: David Murr.

LADEE launch as seen from Louisa, Virginia. Credit and copyright: David Murr.

Closeup view of launch via markyj on Instagram:

LADEE launch video , as seen from Bristol, Pennsylvania, courtesy of Ron Roberts:

If you missed the launch, here’s the “official” NASA video:

Photograph of LADEE's launch aboard a Minotaur V on Sept. 6, 2013. Image credit: NASA Wallops/Chris Perry

Photograph of LADEE’s launch aboard a Minotaur V on Sept. 6, 2013. Image credit: NASA Wallops/Chris Perry

Read more about the launch in our post-launch article here.

You can see more great images in NASA’s Flickr pool for the LADEE launch here.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Unc Remus September 7, 2013 at 10:33 PM

AWESOME! We (Humans) Be Bad! Trying to touch the face of God…………………

EarthlingX September 8, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Pretty pictures :)

Reaction wheels are working normally :
“The initial checkout flight procedure is progressing,” said S. Pete
Worden, Ames center director. “The reaction wheel issue noted soon after
launched was resolved a few hours later. The LADEE spacecraft is
healthy and communicating with mission operators.”
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ladee/main/index.html

Mike Smithwick September 8, 2013 at 8:37 PM

You call THAT a launch? Bah! Apollo 17. Saturn 5. Night launch. Now THERE’s a launch! Bwah bwah hahahahah!

Gotta dig out my movies of that one of these days.

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