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Launch and Launch Party Report

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As promised in an earlier story here, I attended Goddard’s Launch Party today for the extremely important new precipitation-monitoring satellite, and it was exciting!  Here’s what visitors saw on huge screens everywhere at the Visitor’s Center, and on more huge screens across Goddard for their employees, especially the team who worked so long to make this happen.

Hearing the countdown to launch in Japanese is different, huh? And here’s a video about preparation in Japan for the launch.

Before the launch, we heard from four key scientists about the mission.

speakers at satellite launch party at NASA Goddard


Shown on the left, astronaut Paul Richards said about the launch: “Hopefully it’ll go off,” so I guess he’s used to technical or weather-related delays and cancellations.  None today – launch happened at the first moment of the scheduled “launch window.”  Dr. Christa Peters-Lidard, Dr. Jim Garvin (who referred to Goddard as NASA’s “flagship science center”) and Dr. Jack Keye are members of the Global Precipitation Measurement team.  My quote from Dr. Kaye is that this is “really neat science that’s important for the U.S. and the world.”  I’d say the scientists did a fine job of speaking to the children and nonscientific adults in the audience in language we understand.

We were also told that the launch vehicle, which was built at Goddard, weighs about 8,000 pounds and was transported to Japan for launch via plane, train and boat.  Once it’s launched from Japan, the satellite, flying at 250 miles altitude, will be controlled from Goddard.

images from satellite launch party at NASA Goddard

In another room was shown an amazing “spherical” film called Water Falls, which looks the same from any angle in the room.  Here’s a quick video about how it was made.

images from satellite launch party at NASA Goddard


Two screen shots pre-launch of a Goddard scientist explaining the program (on NASA TV), and the launch pad in Japan.

images from satellite launch party at NASA Goddard


On the left, kids play in a space vehicle.  Peeking through the astronaut cut-out on the right is GPM team member Dave Short, who’s the Greenbelter who first told me about the launch.  New Dealers will recognize him as the tall guy on the dance floor.

Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Susan launched the video blog "Susan's Hoop Dancing Journey" after trying hula hooping during the 2022 Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

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