A friend of mine was at Vandenburg for the launch. I just spoke with her by phone and she gave me a guest's-eye view of the proceedings. She says the briefings and talks earlier were a big part of it. Almost more than watching the actual launch. It was too windy in the high atmosphere for the scheduled Monday lift-off, so they delayed it till today. A lot of those invited had to leave Monday, so they missed it. For security or some other reason, you couldnt watch any closer than 7 miles. They were bussed to an observation point 7 miles from the pad. My friend says it went up at 9:57 in the morning----I dont know what the official news release says. Earlier there had been a lot of fog, especially over the ocean. But by 9 AM it had cleared where they were and they had blue sky overhead. What was her visual impression of the first stage as she watched it ascend? "Extremely bright". Also that it left a smoke trail.