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Occasionally there are rocket launches from NASA's Wallops Island complex on the coast of Virginia.  Paul L. has always wanted to video one of these from a weather balloon to "see the rocket go by".  But these launches are infrequent and seldom in the summer months when a calm jet stream would allow for a flight in the Delmarva area.

On Saturday, Nov 2, 2019, Northrup Grumman scheduled their Antares flight (NG-12) to lift-off from Wallops headed to the ISS.  Coincidentally, Paul planned a family camping trip up towards the Virginia border that weekend, AND the jet stream also pointed that way.  So NSL-77 was quickly put together.

The well-worn plastic box from NSL-74 held only an AP510 tracker and a Mobius Mini camera.  An old parachute and line was attached and secured to the payload with PVA string.  In the event of a tree landing, the PVA string would dissolve in rain and drop the payload box.  A 600g H2 cell was added with 1500g of neck lift.
 Small section of PVA string securing the payload to the parachute

 View from the on-board Mobius camera during prep

Balloon release was scheduled for 0845EDT so that it could be above 20km for the Antares launch at 1000EDT.   It all proceeded without issue.  The single video camera recorded beautiful images of the east coast on a mostly clear day.  For the first time, it captured relatively clear images of the Chesapeake Bay region.

  View of Chesapeake Bay area from over Rocky Mount NC

Nighttime rocket flights have been recorded, but can anything be seen during the day?  
The Antares first stage engines left only a thin vapor contrail (This was much harder to see that solid rocket exhaust).  NASA flight video showed a small contrail appearing and disappearing as the rocket ascended.  It's flight path would take it in a southeast direction off the coast of NC.  This should be in view of the Mobius camera, but also into the glare of the morning sun.

  Antares flight image from NASA

After much searching of the video, only hints of the rocket launch were seen.  The glow of the rocket engine was not spotted.
   Rocket contrail was difficult to see

  Views of the NC coast from 110,000 feet

      The cell burst at 33661m 

Paul and his youngest two 'chase crew' drove up to the landing zone to camp at Merchant's Mill Pond State Park.  The beginnings of the winter jet stream delivered their payload there almost two hours ahead of them.  It landed just 5km from their campsite!

  State park in top center of image.  Solar 'glory' in lower left.

The payload landed gently in a nearby soybean field.  A local hunter and his son were on-site and escorted the chase crew to the landing area.  Easy recovery!

     On-board views of landing
  Payload retrieved by local hunter

 Flight visualization

Ascent rate and temperature data