Opinion: Video Detailing SpaceX’s Upcoming Launch Lacks Accuracy


Video by Next Media

A recent video by Next Media appears to have been made without bothering to actually look at what they were reporting on. With the planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft payload scheduled to occur on April 30 on the first private mission to the International Space Station – Next Media, based out of Taiwan, appears to have sought to capitalize on this historic flight – with perhaps somewhat less than a clear understanding of what the launch complex itself looks like – or the Falcon 9 launch vehicle itself for that matter.

The launch pad depicted in the video – does not bear much resemblance to SLC-40. Two large towers, somewhat reminiscent of the space shuttle’s fixed service structure, protect the “Falcon 9” during launch. As seen in the image below – SLC 40 does not even have a single tower like this – much less two. Rather SpaceX employs what is known as a “strongback” which lifts the rocket into the vertical position.

The video depicts a stocky rocket with two black bands lifting off between two large structures the resemble Launch Complex 39A's Fixed Service Structure. As can plainly be seen here - none of these depictions is accurate. Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

The launch control center or LCC depicted in this video presentation resembles the LCC that China utilizes during some of its launches. Perhaps the fact that the producer of this video, Next Media, is based out of Taiwan is the reason for this particular incorrect depiction. SpaceX’s LCC is located just outside the gates of CCAFS and is much smaller than the LCC shown in this video.

The rocket shown in the video – only somewhat looks like an actual Falcon 9. Stocky and with two black bands, the launch vehicle more closely resembles a Delta IV rocket that the slender, all-white Falcon 9. Moreover, the Dragon spacecraft is flat at the top (as opposed to the rounded top of the actual Dragon spacecraft) and lacks the fairings where the Dragon’s solar arrays are stored.

The video is brief, just some 34 seconds in length and is rife with inaccurate depictions of launch site, rocket and other pertinent imagery. Given the wealth of information, video and still images available on all of these elements, it is strange that this company could not get many of the basic facts correct in this offering.

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