April 20, 2021

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Rocket could be seen tonight from Puerto Rico

Despite the presence of dust from the Sahara, a curious and unusual sighting could be visible from Puerto Rico in the direction of the east-southeast horizon tonight, Sunday, June 28.

"This is a Vega rocket that will take off from French Guiana, in the northeast of South America and due to its trajectory, there is the possibility of being able to see it near the horizon while ascending into space ", indicated the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC) in written statements .

The 98-foot tall, Italian-made Vega rocket will attempt to carry a total of 53 satellites into space, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The launch was originally scheduled for yesterday, Saturday. , but it was postponed until today at 9:51 at night. It is always possible to postpone the launch date, even in the last second, in case of detecting any failure or unfavorable weather conditions.

"Many would think that a rocket is continuously ascending vertically, but in reality it is taking a turn or tilt to locate the satellite or satellites in the desired orbit. This time it will take off in a north-northwest direction, and because French Guiana is located to the Southeast of us, it is likely to spot it during its ascent if we look towards the East and Southeast horizon between 9:51 pm and 9:58 pm "noted SAC Vice President, Eddie Irizarry.

The launch of the rocket would be carried out by the French aerospace company Arianespace, and among the satellites on board are several of planet observations and other scientific studies, while others are communications. Some of these are from the European Space Agency, as well as from Argentina, the United States, Canada, Israel, Spain, Slovenia and Thailand, among others.

"To try to see it, it is important to avoid visual obstructions to the East and Southeast, since if it turned out to be visible, the rocket would be moving from right to left at little elevation from the horizon as seen from our perspective "the organization indicated.

He added that, if visible, it is probable that some change will be perceived in the appearance of the object around 9:55 pm, when the third stage or rocket segment will ignite, while between 9:57 and 9:58 pm, separation of the third stage must occur, causing another change in appearance or the beginning of the dissipation of the wake.

The SAC warned that several factors can affect the visibility of the event, reason why it clarified that it is a possible sighting, and not one guaranteed.

“Of all modes, we suggest d to take a look in case we actually manage to see it, since it is not very common to be able to see a rocket launch from our area ", pointed out.

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