BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Science/Nature  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 1 March, 2002, 04:27 GMT
'Giant sparkler' does its job
Blast-off, Esa

Moments before the countdown began, we all rushed out on to the roof terrace of the Jupiter Control Room.

The rocket was visible in the distance on the launch pad, glowing white against the darkness.


The mighty Ariane 5 rumbled straight up into the night sky

The seconds ticked away: "Dix, neuf, huit..." and we all held our breath.

For a moment the rocket seemed to linger on the pad and then the sky turned orange and the mighty Ariane 5 rumbled straight up into the night sky.

At first, it seemed to fizzle like a giant sparkler, then the sound turned into a deafening boom and it soared in an arc towards the ocean.

Magnificent show

The rocket seemed to pass almost overhead, leaving the smell of burning in the air and a tail of thick, grey smoke before it disappeared out of sight.

"Fingers crossed now for 26 minutes after the launch," I heard someone say, and we all hurried back into the control room, where the mission managers were still working hard.


My stomach twists like a rubber band

Eventually, news came through that the spacecraft had successfully separated from the rocket. Only then did they clap, stand up and shake hands.

Even those who have watched many launches say they are still moved by the sight of a rocket soaring into the sky.

"My stomach twists like a rubber band," is how one seasoned observer describes it.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Forrest
"This launch went off without a hitch"
The BBC's Helen Briggs
"Everything went to plan"

News

Analysis

FORUM

DIARY

CLICKABLE GUIDE
See also:

20 Feb 02 | Science/Nature
05 Feb 02 | Science/Nature
28 Feb 02 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Science/Nature stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes