I couldn’t stop babbling, “Amazing … wow … ” as the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer launched from a pad about three miles away from where we were standing at Vandenberg Air Force base this morning at 6:09 a.m. Next to me, Amy Mainzer, the deputy project scientist, clapped with delight and shouted, “Woohoo! Go, go, go!” Here was the moment where, as she described later, she was a proud mamma bird watching her baby bird finally fly off from the nest. A handful of reporters and photographers from papers in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Pasadena were also standing in the field with us. One of them said she was so excited she was shaking. We could hear the rumbling for a few minutes after launch and watched the bright spot fade as the spacecraft blasted away from us. Somewhere out there beyond our sight, the nose cone was opening like a clamshell and WISE burst out and put itself into the correct orbit around Earth. Dawn broke clear and bright a few minutes later.