JPL scientist Amy Mainzer explains the importance and cool factor of today's WISE satellite launch up at Vandenberg, in a video on the project's YouTube channel. (It's not embeddable, or I woulda.) NASA also has posted the countdown and live reporting of the first couple of minutes of flight this morning. I like that they hold on to the spent fuel tanks a few extra seconds so as to not drop them on an offshore oil rig. Mainzer posted a blog update this afternoon that captures the post-launch mood:
I just couldn’t be any happier! This is the stuff of life. I am doing my happy dance now.
WISE is doing great. We can get telemetry from our bird, and it receives our commands. All the day’s critical events executed flawlessly - the spacecraft detumbled and became power-positive within only 3 minutes of separation from the rocket! That is textbook-perfect performance.