The Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 6, 1999
July 6, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 39


FUSE Day: What a Blast

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Neither the weather nor a stray boat that had wandered into the impact zone could halt the long-awaited launch on June 24 of the FUSE spacecraft from Cape Canaveral. FUSE, which stands for Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, has now begun its scheduled three-year mission to trace the fossil records of the origins of the universe.

More than 400 fans gathered to watch the FUSE satellite, built and managed by Hopkins, head into space. Herb Kessler, dean of Arts and Sciences, and Gary Ostrander, associate dean for research.

More than 400 of Hopkins' own packed Schafler Auditorium in the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy to watch the NASA television simulcast of the launch. William Blair, associate research professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and chief of mission planning for FUSE, acted as master of ceremonies for the "Let's Do Launch" event. In addition to explaining the FUSE mission's history and science goals, Blair also acted the part of showman, taking questions from the many children in attendance and even exhibiting his vocal abilities with his Launch Day number, sung to the tune of Sinatra's My Way.

Members of the extended university family.

The launch, which had been pushed back a day due to inclement weather conditions, was delayed an additional five minutes when a boat entered the restricted zone and had to be directed to a safe distance off the Florida coast. The official time of the launch was 11:44 a.m., and the spacecraft encountered no problems entering Earth's orbit.