CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — On Friday, March 1, Space Exploration Technologies, more commonly known as “SpaceX,” successfully launched the fifth of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets. At the top of this highly-successful launch vehicle was a Dragon spacecraft, packed with supplies, ready to be sent thundering to the International Space Station. AmericaSpace has invested in producing a series of remote camera boxes—this allows us to take pictures at the pad during launch from a safe distance. We also had photographers on top of NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building at the NASA Causeway, Kennedy Space Center press site, and elsewhere. These are some of the images that we captured of the flight of the Dragon, conducting the second of 12 planned flights under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
The AmericaSpace team has been working feverishly to improve the quality level of the content that we bring to you. We’ve revised our Launch Tracker feature (soon to be revised again to “Mission Tracker”) and are in the process of constructing not two or three, but ten remote camera boxes. These are set up at the launch pad and will contain both still and video cameras and are used to record the sound and fury of launch. We’ve also teamed up with highly skilled professionals such as Mike Barrett, Jeff Seibert, and, more recently, John Studwell.As one might imagine, coordinating all of this activity is no small feat. This is where our team philosophy proves invaluable. Whatever the event, we work together to ensure that we give you our best. However, in some cases, through no fault of our own things do not go as planned. In the case of this launch, many of our new remote boxes were all in one general area—the exact same one that the Falcon 9’s plume thundered into. Most of the rocket’s ascent is obscured by all the dust and smoke propelled outward at a very high rate of speed. This too provides us an opportunity to share with you what it’s like to be there.
This is no easy chore. One has to contend with the temperamental Florida weather, range safety, ITAR, and numerous other issues that make this particular brand of photography extremely challenging. Then there are the lighting concerns, as well as NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and the newly-emerging commercial space sector—which are on a strict timeline and won’t reschedule their launch so that you can have a better picture. You have to work with what you got. This is not much of a problem for our team, as some of our photographers have been snapping photos of rockets since the Apollo era.
Video courtesy of AmericaSpace, Wired4Space with elements provided by NASA
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