2007/04/07

Successful Launch

The TMA-10 Soyuz, with Charles Simonyi and the two Russian cosmonauts, launched successfully on time today, at 12:39 pm, CDT.

I couldn't find live coverage of the event on cable tv, so I watched it on NASA tv at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/. The launch was riveting, and I watched continuously from ten minutes before take-off until loss of the Soviet video feed after launch, when video transmission from the Soyuz main cabin ended due to the rocket's location in space. The transmission started degrading at about 15 minutes into the flight and finally dropped out completely around the 19 minute mark.

Watching the launch made me wish for better real-time video filtering of the launch. The following modifications to the launch video would be appreciated by viewers:
  1. Filter the brightness of the flame so it doesn't obscure the body of the rocket. It would be more informative and interesting to watch if you could see the rocket itself during take-off, instead of mostly light and smoke.
  2. Filter out the smoke from the rocket fuel burn for the same reason as above.
  3. Filter out clouds that may be present; again, this is to give viewers the most interesting launch view.
  4. Provide a split screen option so launch viewers can see both a zoom closeup of the rocket as it heads into space and a picture that shows the launch from the perspective of a ground observer at the launch site. The zoom video should be provided by several camera locations to keep the rocket in view longer.
Continuing innovation and technology advances mean that we're no longer satisfied with the amazing ability to watch and listen in real time as a Hungarian-American civilian and two Russian cosmonauts blast-off into space from Kazakhstan. We now want and expect to be able to see specific aspects of the launch the way we think would be best and most interesting to us...

One note of interest to me is that Paul Allen attended the launch in person at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. I wonder if Paul has his name on the waiting list for a trip to the ISS (International Space Station). Another item of note I found online today is that (according to Wikipedia) Russia is developing the ability to launch manned orbital rockets from Plesetsk Cosmodrome instead of the Baikonur Cosmodrome because of the rent they pay to Kazakhstan for use of that facility and potential for unresolvable differences between the two countries over terms of use for the Baikonur facility.

The TMA-10 Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the ISS Monday afternoon, 09 April. Coverage on NASA tv starts at 13:45 CDT, about half an hour before they dock.

...I wonder how long before a video clip of the launch is available on YouTube, and whether it will be a popular video...

*****

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