SORCE launch timeline
Updated: January 23, 2003

T+00:00 Drop
The Pegasus XL rocket is released from the Orbital Carrier Aircraft off the east coast of Florida at an altitude of 39,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.
T+00:05 Ignition
The first stage solid-fueled motor of Pegasus is ignited to begin the powered journey to orbit with SORCE.
T+01:16 Stage 1 Burnout
The Orion 50S XL first stage motor consumes all of its solid-fuel propellant and burns out. A short ballistic coast period begins now.
T+01:31 Stage 1 and 2 Separation
The spent first stage motor is jettisoned to prepare for the second stage of flight. The first stage casing falls into the Atlantic Ocean.
T+01:32 Stage 2 Ignition
The Pegasus rocket's Orion 50 XL second stage begins firing to continue the trip to orbit.
T+02:07 Jettison Payload Fairing
The payload fairing that protected the SORCE satellite during atmospheric ascent is separated once heating levels drop to predetermined limits.
T+02:45 Stage 2 Burnout
Having consumed its supply of solid-fuel propellant, the second stage motor burns out. A coast period now begins before releasing the spent stage.
T+07:27 Stage 2 and 3 Separation
With its job complete, the Pegasus rocket's second stage is jettisoned from the third stage.
T+07:38 Stage 3 Ignition
The solid-fueled Orion 38 third stage ignites to deliver the SORCE spacecraft into the desired orbit around Earth.
T+08:46 Stage 3 Burnout
The third stage burns out after using all its solid propellant, completing the powered phase of launch. Orbit insertion has now occurred.
T+10:46 Spacecraft Separation
NASA's Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment spacecraft, or SORCE, is released into space from the third stage to complete the Pegasus rocket's 32nd launch.

Data source: Orbital Sciences

Flight data file
Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Payload: SORCE
Launch date: Jan. 25, 2003
Launch window: 3:10-4:08 p.m. EST (2010-2108 GMT)
Mission staging site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Satellite broadcast: AMC 2, Transponder 9, C-band

Pre-launch briefing
Ground track - Map with the path the rocket will follow into space.

SORCE - Facts and info on the NASA satellite being launched.

Pegasus - Overview of the air-launched Orbital Sciences rocket.