"Our observations are fundamentally new. We put it in context with what's known in our galaxy. We can make some new measurements of interstellar molecular temperatures," he said.
France's wife and Charleston Catholic High School sweetheart, Emily Calwell France, and both sides of their immediate families came to watch the launch in New Mexico.
"We were all together for the launch — it was really special for our family," said Emily. "I can't wait for the next one — they're already working on the next one, so we'll have lots of launches to come.
"It's really amazing to watch. It's such a dramatic scene because it was 2:30 in the morning and in the absolute desert. There's just nothing but the desert sky with brilliant stars.
"At first you just see this brilliant flash of light that lights up the whole desert. It's silent at first because the sound hasn't gotten to you yet. Then all of a sudden you feel this huge boom, and you can see it ascend into the sky for quite a while. That was just stunning. It was really beautiful."
Only a handful of programs in the country receive funding from NASA to develop science and technology in the form of rockets.
Kevin pursued the University of Colorado for that reason. Emily said the long buildup to the launch was worth it.
"It's been a while — getting his Ph.D. and working in the field. This was his first rocket that he was the principal investigator, the guy in charge. And it was just so exciting to get to see that."
For more information on Kevin France, visit http://cos.colorado.edu/~kevinf.
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