We came down to Santa Barbara to visit with friends over the three day weekend. Elon Musk – who I now work for – but not for SpaceX – decided to postpone the launch from Vandenberg Airforce Base from this past Monday to today.
So we drove up to the top of the mountains north of Santa Barbara to watch the launch. It has rained a bunch and I can’t remember a day that was more clear. I can’t even imagine a day more clear than it was, today. Today I could see the green of the grass on the Channel islands from the 101.
The top picture is a panorama. The rocket came up from the right edge of the mountain that obscures the ocean near the center of frame.
Left picture is the view north. Just crystal clear.
Right picture is all that’s visible after the launch. The trail has drifted left a little.
We were able to see the rocket from just after launch, and we were able to see it all the way up! It was fabulous as it was arcing over our heads. We could see the rocket with the naked eye all the way to first stage cut out. With binoculars we could actually see the first stage falling away from the second stage. We did not take any video. It was absolutely amazing!
The landing was way down near Tijuana, so we didn’t get to see that. Next time, I hope to see the launch from closer up; we live just about an hour north of Vandenberg, so the trip isn’t a big deal – it’s just pretty rare that they launch from here. And some day I’d love to see the landing. But today was totally awesome!