Pegasus

Soaring through the skies! This view looks from the window of our F-18 support aircraft during a 2016 Orbital ATK air-launch of its Pegasus rocket. 

The CYGNSS mission, led by the University of Michigan, will use eight micro-satellite observatories to measure wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes. 

CYGNSS launched at 8:37 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 from our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CYGNSS launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, deployed from Orbital’s “Stargazer” L-1011 carrier aircraft.

Pegasus is a winged, three-stage solid propellant rocket that can launch a satellite into low Earth orbit. How does it work? Great question!

After takeoff, the aircraft (which looks like a commercial airplane..but with some special quirks) flies to about 39,000 feet over the ocean and releases the rocket. 

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Ancient Greek gold bezel box ring depicting Bellerophon astride Pegasus, slaying the Chimera. Found in Southern Italy, the ring dates to 340-320 BCE and is currently located in the J. Paul Getty Museum. The image on the left has been edited slightly by me.

A rare coin from the city that once housed the Library of Aristotle

This silver drachm is from the ancient city of Skepsis in Troas circa 480-450 BC. On the obverse is the forepart of Pegasus with the inscription ΣKHΨIΩN. The reverse shows a fir tree with two grape bunches all within a linear and  dotted border.

The ancient city of Skepsis was located in the Troas region (aka Troad), which is the modern Biga peninsula in Turkey. It is about 31 miles southeast of the ancient site of Troy. The settlement is notable for being the location where the famous library of Aristotle was kept before being moved to Pergamum and Alexandria. Strabo wrote in his Geographia XIII, 1, 54-55 that Aristotle was “the first man, so far as I know, to have collected books and to have taught the kings in Egypt how to arrange a library."