Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Delta II Rocket / Iridium MS-5 Launch Photos

2007 August 1

On the evening of 1997 November 8, a Delta II rocket carrying five Iridium communications satellites lifted off from Space Launch Complex 2-West at Vandenberg AFB. The launch took place during evening twilight and the rocket climbed out of the Earth's shadow and into sunlight, creating a memorable display visible over a wide area. The webmaster recorded the event on film from Santa Ynez Peak in Santa Barbara County, California.

Delta II rocket / Iridium MS-5 satellite launch

The Delta II carries the Iridium 38, 39, 40, 41, and 43 satellites into orbit as its sunlit contrail is suspended in the dusk sky. The webmaster took this photo during the late portion of the first stage burn just before main engine cut-off (MECO). The bright white dot on the right is the planet Venus.

Delta II rocket / Iridium MS-5 satellite launch

This image shows the sunlit contrail from the Delta II just after first stage main engine cut-off. Following MECO, the rocket dropped significantly in brightness and was difficult to see. The very faint white speck in the lower left may be the rocket following second stage ignition.

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