Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cracking the Dawn with Stargazer

Orbital Sciences satellite launch aircraft Stargazer, one of the few Lockheed L-1011s still flying, returned to Mojave Thursday evening, and parked for then night in the helicopter transient parking area. When dawn broke Friday morning, under a quartering moon, I was reminded of why I like the desert so much....

On October 19, Stargazer launched the 26th successful Pegasus mission, which carried NASA's newest astronomical observatory into space. The Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, satellite will study the boundary region between the solar system and interstellar space, known as the heliopause. The launch took place high over the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific's Marshall Islands, where many Pegasus rockets are sent into space. When not soaring over the tropics, however, Stargazer calls the Mojave Spaceport home.

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