|December 28, 2000
- After several weeks of effort the ATIC payload was launched today at
04:25 UTC. The day started out mostly cloudy with light snow falling.
However, the ground and low altitude winds began decreasing allowing a
launch to be attempted. The experiment was configured for flight
(adding solar panels, rotator and ballast hopper) and mounted on the
launch vehicle. About 1:40pm local time the launch vehicle and payload
left the barn for the launch pad. Once on site the vehicle was
positioned and the balloon, lift train and parachute laid out. Balloon
inflation began about 4:30pm local time and was completed shortly before
The launch itself was picture perfect, except for the cloudy skies
aloft, and the balloon slowly disappeared to the clouds almost directly
above us. Somewhat later the clouds had parted enough that we were
able to view the experiment climbing past 60,000 feet and later as it
was at float altitude.
The experiment is currently operating well and we expect to continue
to track it over the next ten days.
Check out Bill Rodman's video journal for the latest on the ATIC
The ATIC experiment begins its climb out to