ACCENT Pictures

The Landsat 7 spacecraft aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket, lifted off at 11:32 a.m. PDT from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. More than an hour later, the spacecraft separated from the Delta II second stage. Landsat is a dual-agency program between NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Lynn Chandler of NASA/GSFC provided 3 shots taken by SrA Linda Miller.

Dan Helfrich of NASA/GSFC code 430 took two shots of the launch from the ground.

The WB-57F made 1 pass through the plume of this rocket at an altitude of about 60,000 feet beginning a few minutes after the launch. The backseater of the WB-57F (Shelley Hilden of JSC) carried a small digital camera on this flight, and took a series of pictures of the Delta launch and plume. Click on any picture to see the full resolution. By the way, the WB-57F is a two seater plane with a pilot and an instrument operator (known as the backseater, since she sits behind the pilot)


Here we see a series of shots of the launch taken by Shelley.

The Plume

Here we see a number shots of the plume following the launch. Note the wavy structure of the plume as atmospheric disturbances shear the plume apart.

Only a few minutes after launch, the plume evaported. Shelley indicated that this was about a 30,000 foot gap from 40,000 to about 70,000 feet.

I'm not sure what those streaks are at the top of the image and the faint single streak at the middle bottom. I suspect that they're the solid rocket motors.

Looking down onto Vandenburg.

The California coast just south of Vandenburg.

NASA Dryden and Edwards Air Force Base.


Shelley Hilden (our WB-57F backseater) took these pictures. Just after the launch, and just before the WB-57F began its first pass through the plume, she snapped off her own image. Note the sparkle in her left eye! The digital camera was courtesy of Tommy Thompson of the NOAA Aeronomy Lab.

Back to the ACCENT pictures.

Last Updated: 1999-04-14
Author: Dr. Paul A. Newman (NASA/GSFC, Code 916) (

Web Curator: Dr. Leslie R. Lait (Raytheon ITSS) (
Responsible NASA organization/official: Dr. Paul A. Newman, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch