The launch on Tuesday morning of an Atlas V rocket, carrying a cargo vessel for the International Space Station, was thankfully routine, except for what was happening on the ground.
NASA, United Launch Alliance (the company that makes the Atlas V) and Orbital ATK (the company that makes the Cygnus vessel filled with cargo), worked together to present the first-ever 360-degree live stream of a rocket launch for the mission. Cameras were just 100 yards away from the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center when the rocket took off at 11:11 a.m. Eastern time.
The freedom of a 360-degree camera does have its drawbacks, though. The default view for the launch was facing away from the launchpad, and an apparent glitch in the stream created a jerky upward motion of the rocket: It appears to hightail it into the air at the speed of light.
Anybody watching the 360-degree live stream might have mistakenly thought the Atlas V had been outfitted with a hyperdrive. Sadly, it had not.
“We are in the process of reviewing today’s 360º live streaming setup and will assess what happened during today’s live 360º broadcast,” United Launch Alliance press officer Christa Bell tells Inverse about the glitch. “We hope to overcome the difficulty we had today and bring this new perspective of a rocket launch to everyone in the future. We still have incredible video of today’s successful Atlas V launch of the Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station from multiple other cameras that provide a variety of views.”
Glitches aside, here are some of our favorite moments from the launch, captured on the regular old NASA TV broadcast.
1. The Commemorative Memorial of the Late John Glenn
On December 8, 2016, the world mourned the loss of NASA astronaut John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth. He was honored with this sign in the Cygnus spacecraft.
2. Anxiously Listening to Systems Preparations
40,000 people were tuned in on YouTube five minutes before the launch, 18,000 were tuned into the Facebook Live.
3. Watching as the World Says GO!
The live feed freaks out as the launch captain says “all systems go!”
4. Those Calm-Before-the-Storm Shots
Here it comes!
5. Holding Our Breath…
Causally trying not to pass out.
It’s happening! So clean, so smooth, and the cameras aren’t burning up!
7. Envying Those People on the Florida Beach
What an ideal vacation.
8. Still Holding Our Breath
Launch captain says it is approaching 1920 mph.
9. Watching it Float Away Into Space
Good bye, land.
10. Just a Tiny Flaming Speck Now
Almost in orbit!
11. Is It Okay?!
Is this normal?
12. Ah Yes, It’s All Good
Launch captain says it “looks good” so it must be good.
13. Time for Some Glory Shots
Almost into orbit now.
14. Realizing How Truly Tiny We All Are
15. Watching the Live Feed Freak the F Out
Yeah, it was pretty awesome.
16. The Second Stage Booster Breakaway
Bye bye, Cygnus! Say hello to the ISS astronauts for us!
Watch the full launch below.