Movie shot from just outside NASA control center at Vandenberg AFB of our Atlas V roaring into orbit, carrying FIREBIRD and several other CubeSats along with its primary national security payload. The first minute of launch was absolutely blinding and deafening in person - never been allowed this close to a launch of such a large rocket - just beyond the "debris field" distance. Breathtaking!!! The pressure waves literally caused my shirt sleeves to flap, set off all the car alarms, and produced some truly eerie sound effects bouncing off anything that resonated within ear shot (including power lines, buildings, cars, etc.). Three hours later, FIREBIRD was successfully deployed, and an hour later went through its automatic power on sequence. Still getting early contacts with the "twins" and assessing on orbit performance over next few days. Thanks to the entire FIREBIRD team and agency support from NSF and NASA to make this happen. Go FIREBIRD! - Harlan Spence
We wish John great luck and we'll see him when he gets back. Hopefully we'll still have a few balloons up for him.