Rocket launch photography + Florida weather = not always the best combination / by Michael Seeley

First, my congratulations to the United Launch Alliance team for their 100th launch this morning. The ‪#‎MORELOS‬ satellite carried by an ‪#‎AtlasV‬ seems to have been a great success.

However, my attempts to photograph this epic launch were a complete fail. I must have used all my good photographic karma for the ‪#‎MUOS‬ launch.

When I learned last night that winds would require media to shoot from the NASA Press Site (thanks Mike Brown for the heads up), I pondered alternative places to shoot from, rather than compete for the limited sight lines to LC41. I was thinking the beach, but with help from Val Phillips and Jared, I concluded that Playalinda Beach wouldn't have been open early enough.

I convinced myself that a streak over the Cocoa Beach Pier would be the way to go. The easiest thing to do would have been to roll out of bed at 5:30am (a full 2 and 1/2 hours later than everyone else...sorry) and shoot from Satellite Beach, but I thought the pier would be a nice thing for the foreground.

The results: The first photo is the scene at 6:02am, just six minutes before the 6:08am launch was held for an [expletive deleted] sailboat in the range. Notice the clear sky, the lovely stars...that held until about 6:10. By 6:15 the clouds had completely obscured the sky.

Although you'd never know, the second photo is in fact the launch. Extra special bonus: 15 seconds before the 6:28am liftoff, it started raining...

I will add that people to the south of me got lovely streaks...I'm guessing because the opening in the clouds that was over me at 6:08 had moved sufficiently south.