NASA provides 1st live 360-degree view of rocket launch

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Rocket Launch 360 View A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that will carry supplies to the International Space Station stands ready at complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Monday, April 17, 2017, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday morning and for the first time, NASA cameras will provide live 360-degree video of the rocket heading toward space. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

NASA provided a 360 stream Tuesday as an unmanned Atlas rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with a capsule full of space station supplies. The scheduled 11:11 a.m. liftoff went well. Video continued until the rocket was out of sight.

The four fisheye-lens cameras are located at the periphery of the pad, about 300 feet (100 meters) from the rocket. A computer in a blast-proof box stitched together the images for a full, in-the-round view. 

HERE IS THE 360 VIEW FROM THE LAUNCH PAD. Launch around 10:55 in.

NASA’s YouTube channel 

“It’s great, I mean, to be able to get in there and experience that 360-degree view,” said Vern Thorp, a program manager for rocket maker United Launch Alliance. Combining that with virtual reality goggles, “it really gives you a new perspective that we’ve never been able to do before,” he said at a Monday news conference.

United Launch Alliance has released 360-degree video of two previous launches, but later — not live.

Orbital ATK, one of NASA’s main delivery services for the International Space Station, opted to use an Atlas V for this supply run from Cape Canaveral versus its own smaller, Virginia-based Antares rocket in order to haul up more items. The supply ship is known as the Cygnus after the swan constellation, and in this case has been named the S.S. John Glenn.

Glenn became the first American to orbit the world in 1962 — launching on an Atlas rocket — and the oldest person to fly in space in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery. He died at age 95 in December. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month.

“It’s an honor to launch the spacecraft which has been named in memory of John Glenn,” Thorp told reporters. Given that Glenn flew on an Atlas rocket and Tuesday’s rocket is an Atlas, “I feel like we’re bridging history.”

Online:
NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/
United Launch Alliance: http://www.ulalaunch.com/360.aspx
Orbital ATK: http://www.orbitalatk.com/

Story by The Associated Press