Lynn and I met Howard and Nancy T. at the Cape last Tuesday to watch the first launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Falcon Heavy first launch – This is an Olympus Live Composite, multiple exposure image showing the ascent. From ~12 miles away (the “Close” viewing area off of Vectorspace Blvd near Kennedy Space Center). 40mm eq. Field of View.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and it’s amazing to think about how far they’ve come in so short a time – all as a privately funded company. Their first launch to orbit was in 2008 and last week they launched an object into solar orbit with the Falcon Heavy, which is now the world’s most powerful launch system.
SpaceX 1st Falcon Heavy Launch – sending a red Tesla sports car past Mars! ~600mm eq. Field of View.
To me as an engineer, the capability to land and reuse boosters is even more impressive. Especially when you watch two boosters simultaneously landing back near the launch site!
SpaceX: !st Falcon Heavy Launch – two simultaneous booster braking burns. These two successfully landed back at the Cape. Unfortunately, the third booster crashed at sea. ~600mm eq. Field of View.
If you’re a space fan like I am, you’ve been following this story. But if not, here are a few pages around the web that you might find interesting:
- SpaceX Falcon Heavy animation on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk338VXcb24
- Lots of great images on the SpaceX official Flickr photo stream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacex/
- Elon Musk talking about the successful Falcon Heavy Launch: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/elon-musk-spacex-success-tesla/552617/
- USA Today story – “Starman mesmerizes the world”: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/02/07/floating-through-space-spacexs-starman-mesmerizes-world/317773002/
- Space.com story – Tesla Roadster and Starman leave earth forever: https://www.space.com/39633-spacex-tesla-roadster-starman-final-photo.html
- theverge.com report on the launch up close: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/9/16988630/spacex-falcon-heavy-launch-report-video
It was truly a wonderful experience to watch this happen. It seems to me that Elon is well on the way to earning his place as another Edison.
As far as the photo-op went, it’s a tough assignment. We were about 12 miles away in the area NASA calls “Close”. This is much closer than our usual viewing area (our driveway – about 35 miles away), but still a bit distant. They also have “Closer” and “Closest” areas about 7.5 miles from the pad. VIPs and press were only 3 miles away. If you want truly great photographs, you’ll have to figure out how to get closer than we did.
Hey Elon – Central Florida Photo Ops needs a press pass!!!
It turns out this wasn’t really about the photo-op. It was about the experience of witnessing history with thousands of other space fans. And these photos will help me remember the thrill.
Post launch vapor trail
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go witness some history! And make some photos!
©2018, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved
6 thoughts on “When the Experience Exceeds the Photo-op”
Glad you got over there to see it Ed. Now I’m wishing I had done the same! Great article…thanks!
You know, we’ve lived in Central Florida for a long time but this is our first trip to watch a launch at the Cape (with a paid ticket). We should have done it sooner!
Great shots. We had planned to go up but something came up. Hopefully next time…I think that is June….Great shots and wonderful info. Hope you get the Press Pass!!
You should definitely go if you can – a great experience. The only downside was that with so many people there, the traffic leaving was horrible. Maybe next time it won’t be so bad.
Great vapor trail. I was fortunate to experience a shuttle launch a long time ago. I watched this one from the office about 60 miles away. The boosters return was very impressive.
Thank you Eduardo.
Landings are impressive. I wasn’t able to see the actual landings this time, but I did see one land after a previous launch.