Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Tanya Harrison

MAVEN Launches!

Posted by Tanya Harrison

18-11-2013 16:56 CST

Topics: mission status, personal stories

The skies over Cape Canaveral were deceptively blue and sunny this morning as we headed to the Banana Creek viewing area. The launch forecast was still only at a 60% chance for go due to possible afternoon thunderstorms. Things were looking perfect until about T minus 30 minutes. That's when the gray clouds started to roll in, along with a few raindrops. The anticipation in the crowd became tangible at that point with the fear of the launch getting scrubbed. We sat there watching the clock count down until reaching the hold at T minus 4 minutes, listening to the various systems give their go/no go statuses. The crowd erupted in cheers when things were given the all clear and the countdown clock resumed. Among the crowd were The Planetary Society's Jim Bell and Casey Dreier (on the left in the photo below).

Jim Bell and Casey Dreier await the launch

Tanya Harrison

Jim Bell and Casey Dreier await the launch

At around T minus 1.5 minutes, the official announcement was made that the launch was a go, leading to another round of cheers from the folks in the viewing area. The ominous gray clouds were still hanging over the viewing area, but luckily hadn't made their way over the launch site.

And finally, the moment we'd all been waiting for...

MAVEN launches!

Tanya Harrison

MAVEN launches!


The spacecraft launched flawlessly and pretty much exactly on schedule. Congratulations to NASA, the MAVEN team, and United Launch Alliance for a picture perfect launch! 

Next stop: Mars...

MAVEN heads off toward Mars

Tanya Harrison

MAVEN heads off toward Mars

I owe a huge thank you to The Planetary Society for inviting me to attend this launch, and the NASA Social folks for selecting me to participate in an amazing experience that I will never forget. For anyone out there active in social media, keep an eye out on @NASASocial for calls for applicants for future launches!

(P.S. From this experience, I learned that when attending a launch in 85°F heat, don't leave a banana in your backpack all day and forget about it. You'll regret it later.)

See other posts from November 2013


Or read more blog entries about: mission status, personal stories


Bob Ware: 11/18/2013 07:02 CST

Beautiful photos! Thanks! I'm glad you had fun!

Jon Joyce: 11/18/2013 10:41 CST

I live near Tampa, FL and I've seen a few launches when its at night time, or or at least getting dark but today there were too many clouds. I watched it on the news, but its always cool to see it with your own eyes. I just started looking through the website trying to figure out what MAVEN is for, and so far I got that it's to explore Mars' upper atmosphere.

Tom Kemp: 11/19/2013 12:49 CST

Fantastic reporting on the launch and the crowd reaction. Great photo of Jim and Casey with the countdown clock

Tanay: 11/19/2013 01:13 CST

While Maven lauched the sun is preparing to reverse its magnetic field.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Bill Nye at LightSail 2 pre-ship review
LightSail 2 pre-ship review team photo
Swirling maelstrom
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!