Before it blasted off, though, the rocket was simply an extra-tall feature of the weird-and-wacky ecosystem that is Wallops Island. On Wednesday, as people made the final preparations for Antares to streak into the sky, NASA photographer Bill Ingalls got a shot of some curious onlookers: three white-tailed deer.
The trio, as pictured, seem wonderfully unimpressed by their space-bound surroundings; they're simply grazing on the grass that surrounds the launch pad. And don't worry about their safety: As another picture proves, the deer, just after Ingalls got his shot, scurried away.
Nor is this the first time that animals have photobombed a rocket. This September, the launch of NASA's Minotaur V (the rocket that would help deliver the agency's LADEE craft to the moon) saw the launch of "rocket frog," the amphibious almost-astronaut that was shot off the ground by the force of the Minotaur's ignition. The Antares deer, fortunately for all but the frog, had better luck.