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Aquarius/SAC-D Soars into Orbit!
NASA Launch Commentator Tracy Young:
T minus 10… nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… one… we have ignition and liftoff of Aquarius and the SAC-D observatory on an international mission to study Earth's salty sea.
Ascent Commentator Steve Agid
: … a burn nicely from the initial launch transient. Main engine control is good. Vernier control is good. Coming up on 36 seconds.
Mark, 36 seconds. Mach 1, vehicle now going transonic. Forty-two seconds, still looking good.
Good chamber pressure is holding. Forty-nine seconds in, Max Q, maximum dynamic pressure in the vehicle.
Coming up on the one-minute mark as we're standing by for solid burnout.
Chamber pressure beginning to drop in the solids. We have burnout.
We'll be holding on to those solids for about another 30 seconds to assure we have a safe water impact point. Once minute, 13 seconds into the flight.
One minute, 25 seconds, mark. Standing by for separation of the three ground-lit solids. Should be happening any second now.
And we have separation command. Separation, one minute, 45 seconds in, the Delta II vehicle only weighs about half of what it did at launch. It's burning propellants at the rate of about the weight of 800 pounds per second.
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