Cheshire resident Lt. James A. Keaney (R.) and Capt. Dan Hanle (L.) of Southbury are shown displaying the 61 Civil Air Patrol items that recently flew in space. On October 23 at 7:33 A.M. MST a commercial rocket owned and operated by UP Aerospace of Denver Colorado lifted off from it’s launch pad at Spaceport America in New Mexico. On board were several scientific experiments from Universities around the globe as well as the Waterbury Squadron’s Civil Air Patrol challenge coins and squadron patches pictured. This is the historic first time that multiple Civil Air Patrol items have reached into space and returned. Lt. Keaney and Capt. Hanle combined efforts over several months to have CAP as part of this launch. Lt. Keaney is a CAP Public Affairs officer and Capt. Hanle is a CAP pilot and co-owner of UP Aerospace. Lt. Keaney and his wife Linda were granted unfettered access to all phases of the launch for photos and crew interaction. UP Aerospace and their commercial rockets are perhaps best known for having launched into space the cremated remains of James Doohan, the actor who played “Scotty” on the famed T.V. series Star Trek.
This NASA sponsored launch known as SpaceLoft 9 or SL-9 reached 77.3 miles or 408,035 feet into sub orbital and micro gravity space for a new historic Spaceport America record. All phases of the launch and recovery went as planned with the rocket landing within the expected recovery zone. Present at UP Aerospace’s Launch Control Center were various V.I.P. representatives from the Civil Air Patrol, NASA, the FAA, White Sands Missile Range, Spaceport America and several universities. The SL-9 rocket is 20 feet long and 11 inches in diameter with a loaded weight of 780 pounds and a payload of 100 pounds. The motor burn is 12 seconds to 35,000 feet with a spin rate of 7 cycles per second until de-spin occurs at 55 seconds when officially in space. The motor utilized Ammonium Perchlorate with a binder as the propellant. Launch to landing was 15 minutes and recovery from White Sands Missile Range by Army helicopter typically takes 2 hours. Those interested can visit the UP Aerospace web site <