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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Pretty picture: An Atlas launch and a very surprised bird

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

19-07-2013 12:30 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, rockets

If you take hundreds of photos of every single spacecraft launch you can get to, you will eventually get lucky shots like this one. It was taken by Ben Cooper at today's launch of the U.S. Navy satellite MUOS-2 and features a very surprised turkey vulture in a striking pose in front of the American flag. Ben's comment: "Too bad it wasn't an eagle!"

Atlas 5 launches MUOS-2

Ben Cooper /

Atlas 5 launches MUOS-2
On July 19, 2013, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches in its most powerful configuration, the 551 with five solid rocket boosters and a large five-meter extended-length payload fairing, to put the second Mobile User Objective System satellite into space for the US Navy. A (no doubt very surprised) turkey vulture was caught in mid-flight in front of the American flag on the launch tower.

Visit for more shots of the MUOS-2 launch (and nearly every other American launch).

See other posts from July 2013


Read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, rockets


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