NASA photographer Bill Ingalls set up six cameras to capture NASA’s launch of seven satellites on a SpaceX rocket on May 22.
The launch melted the camera. But some pretty fantastic footage survived.
A brushfire caused by the rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California engulfed the camera set up furthest from the launch pad.
“I had six remotes, two outside the launch pad safety perimeter and four inside,” says Ingalls about the position of the cameras he set up to photograph the rocket launch, according to a written statement from NASA. “Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that toasted one of the cameras outside the perimeter.”
After the rocket launch, Ingalls found his molten camera, but was able to pry it open and retrieve the memory card with the footage.
NASA turned the video from the memory card into a gif, embedded below. The video retrieved from the camera is pretty cool to watch.
Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The melted camera was a quarter of a mile from the rocket launch, according to NASA.
Ingalls has been a photographer for NASA for three decades.
The seven satellites launched from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket include two for the German Research Centre for Geosciences and five for Iridium NEXT communications.
The two satellites launched for the German Research Centre for Geosciences are aiming to measure how mass is redistributed on Earth between oceans, land, the atmosphere, ice sheets and within the Earth, according to a NASA blog post.
The five Iridium NEXT satellites are part of the company’s efforts to enable broadband connectivity for commercial applications including safety services, data and communications, remote monitoring and tracking, according to a SpaceX press release about the launch.
Ingall’s camera setup before the fire. Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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