At 9:57:24 am Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, the Gravity Probe B spacecraft had a picture-perfect launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in South-central California. The Boeing Delta II rocket hit the exact center of the bulls eye in placing the spacecraft in its target polar orbit, 400 miles above the Earth.
The Gravity Probe B spacecraft is shown in orbit around the Earth, as viewed by a camera mounted on the second stage of the Delta II rocket that carried it to space. Now placed in its polar orbit of 400 miles above Earth, the Gravity Probe B spacecraft circles the globe every 97.5 minutes, crossing over both poles. (NASA/KSC)
"The Gravity Probe B Mission Operations Team has performed very well during this critical spacecraft activation period," said Tony Lyons, Gravity Probe B NASA Deputy Program Manager from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
"Were ecstatic," said Stanford Gravity Probe B Program Manager, Gaylord Green. "We couldnt have asked for a better or more beautiful launch-nor a more perfect orbit insertion."
Steve Roy | MSFC
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