Satellite signatures of the DART Mission launch

November 24th, 2021 |

GOES-17 Near-Infrared, Shortwave Infrared and Water Vapor images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm). Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), Low-level (7.3 µm). Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (above) showed signatures of the DART Mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in southern California on 24 November 2021. Shortly after the 0620 UTC launch, a warm thermal signature of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster appeared in all 6 of these ABI spectral bands. Note that there were two 0621 UTC images; the 06:21:17 image was from the GOES-17 CONUS Sector — which, because it was scanning a much larger area, didn’t actually scan the rocket plume until around 06:21:57 UTC (the GOES-17 Mesoscale Sector 1 was scanning the rocket plume about 2 seconds earlier, at 06:21:55 UTC).

The corresponding GOES-17 Visible (spectral bands 1 and 2) and Near-Infrared (spectral bands 3-6) images are shown below. Since the satellite was viewing the rocket from the west, a very faint reflectance signature of the Falcon 9 booster could be seen in the first 3 post-launch 0.64 µm (Band 2) Visible images — but no discernible signature was evident in the lower-resolution 0.47 µm (Band 1) Visible imagery.

GOES-17 Visible and Near-Infrared images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

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