Here the engines have started and the exhaust is escaping the flame trench. The Atlas V is still firmly attached to earth as the engines are turned up to launch capacity.
We have liftoff. The Maven Mission has cleared the gantry but across the causeway the sound is yet to reach us.
Several seconds into the launch Maven has cleared the lightning protection system and we can hear the full-bodied roar of the rocket.
This is the last we saw of the rocket, before it entered the clouds. In just 10 months it will orbit Mars and help solve the mystery of the thin atmosphere surrounding the red planet. For the first time ever, when Maven begins its scientific studies scientists will have simulataneous measurements from both the top and bottom of the Martian atmosphere.
Maven left its mark in the sky, and while the smoke was clearing, the sound still echoed across the causeway. Another legacy of Maven is that a project that began 10 years prior to launch came in on time and under budget. That is an island in the foreground, we watched dolphins swimming by looking at the people lining the shore.
Our thanks to Gayle, Manny, and Maggie from NASA, and the crew from United Launch Alliance for all their help with this project, launch rookies like us appreciated the help. We will try to check in on Maven occansionally, the next big event is Oribital Insertion around Mars.