Another LADEE Launch Facet: Imaging of the launch is a team effort!


Minotaur V Rocket with LADEE Payload

The JSC Image Science and Analysis Group (IS&AG), the KSC Long Range Optics Imagery Support Team, and Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) personnel teamed together to provide real-time imagery of the LADEE launch from the WFF launch pad 0B.   The JSC IS&AG was responsible for the integration of the multi-center LADEE imaging effort from a mobile command center at WFF.   The JSC IS&AG provided imaging expertise in support of the KSC team who, using mobile long range tracking cameras, conducted the imagery operations necessary to capture the best possible imagery of LADEE during ascent.

The goal of imaging the LADEE launch was to verify that the launch went well and to document anything out of the ordinary or anomalous.  An additional goal was to gain experience imaging launches from WFF using the KSC tracking cameras in preparation for imaging the Commercial Office Antares AN-002 Orbital Demonstration 1 flight currently scheduled to launch on September 17, 2013 from WFF.

A unique feature of the tracking telescopes used to image LADEE was a robotic camera manned by a technician manipulating a joystick to document LADEE’s ascent through the sky.  A medium range manned tracker was located to the west of the launch pad (site U70) that had a 35mm film camera with a 400 inch lens, and two high definition video cameras.  A short range manned tracker south of the launch site was located at the UAV Runway which also had a 35mm film camera as well as a high definition video camera.  An unmanned, short range fixed camera site was located north of the launch pad at site Y30, outfitted with one high definition video camera.  A fourth camera site, to the north, was located at site Z40.  The Z40 site had a fixed camera with a high definition video camera that will view the rocket engines at liftoff.

Post-launch, JSC IS&AG will review all of the LADEE launch camera imagery and provide a report(s) on the imagery review findings.

Figure 1. Wallops Flight Facility showing KSC Camera Locations


Figure 2.   KSC Un-manned Camera Tracker (KTM)

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