a perfect start in pictures



After the success of SpaceX's first block Falcon Heavy 5, the rocket's first commercial mission, there's no better time to enjoy the countless dozens of photos and videos taken during the launch and landing of Falcon Heavy.

The photographers Teslarati, Tom Cross and Pauline Acalin, were both on the ground. They were separated by more than eight cameras, many of which had been able to capture spectacular photos of the world's largest rocket during its flawless commercial debut. Perhaps the most noteworthy are the photos and videos of those equipped with cameras (or work sites) located near SpaceX's Cape Canaveral Landing Zones 1 and 2, sometimes producing videos of multiple sound detonations produced by Falcon Heavy side amplifiers as they move from hypersonic to subsonic gears.

The two photographers from Teslarati made stunning photos during the installation of cameras to capture Falcon Heavy and observe its commercial debut at about 11.3 km. This included far-flung plans of Falcon Heavy at all visible stages of the flight, including take-off, ascent, lateral separation of the booster, and return landings on both sides.

Tom Cross captured this view of the takeoff of Flight 2 of the Falcon Heavy about fifteen kilometers. (Tom Cross)
An incredible pano of the Falcon Heavy Block 5 while remaining horizontal at Pad 39A. (Pauline Acalin)

Inside the start-up area

SpaceX's official remote cameras then joined press photographers such as Tom and Pauline to capture the takeoff of Falcon Heavy's Pad 39A at a distance that could possibly mutilate or kill a human being in the same position. Triggered to take photos by the actual sound of the rocket launch, these cameras can capture views that would otherwise be nearly inaccessible.

On takeoff, the Falcon Heavy Block 5 is likely to produce between 5.1 and 5.6 million pounds of thrust (23,000 to 25,500 kN) which are immediately countered by a deluge of water used to prevent sound from its Merlin engines. 1D to damage parts of the rocket. This eventually produces spectacular steam clouds, often emblematic of most rocket launches. Falcon Heavy is currently the world's most powerful operational rocket by a factor of about 2.5 and will retain this title until NASA's SLS rocket starts, probably in about 48 months.

The Falcon Heavy Block 5 rises from runway 39A on April 11th. (Tom Cross)
Teslarati photographer Pauline Acalin takes a different angle for the launch of Falcon Heavy Flight 2. (Pauline Acalin)
An extraordinary view of the 27 Merlin 1D engines from Falcon Heavy just a few seconds after ignition and take-off. (SpaceX)

The grand finale

Finally, you will find photos and videos of the Falcon Heavy Recall Recovery. Apart from a few photographers working for SpaceX or Air Force, as well as employees of Cape Canaveral AFS and Kennedy Space Center, the closest press member can go to one of SpaceX's Falcon recoveries in the landing zone: 6.4 km) one way. The photos (and the hearing experience) of Falcon landings four miles away are still absolutely spectacular, but they can not compete with the privileged access described above.

One of these videos, made by an engineer from the United Launch Alliance (ULA), offers an extraordinary close-up view of the two Falcon Heavy Block 5 – B1052 and B1053 side boosters – returning to Earth safely after their first operational launches. Probably close to the top of ULA's LC-37 Delta IV launch pad integration facilities, Mr. Krishnan's video does a great job. to capture the excitement of experienced observers, as well as the shattering power of sonic booms produced by the Falcon boosters being landed. Of note, the extreme roar and crackling of the landing of each Falcon Heavy Recall is interpreted by Single or Individual Merlin 1D engine, both equipped new.

Located less than 5.6 miles from SpaceX 's landing zones, it' s about a perspective that very few humans will ever experience, since Cape Canaveral Air Force Base is a operational military base and its proximity undeniably adds a level. risks for observers. According to the humble opinion of the author, the sight seems … worth it. The LC-37 is also just 8 km from the LC-39A platform from which Falcon Heavy took off, providing an almost visceral view of takeoff, ascent and landing.

The cameras placed near the landing zones by SpaceX and USAF photographers captured even more spectacular views and marked the conclusion of the launch and arrival of the Falcon Heavy B1052 and B1053 boosters. It is tentatively expected that these same boosters will support the third launch of Falcon Heavy by June 2019, which could break SpaceX's internal record in terms of time to complete the refurbishment of a given booster (72 days for Falcon 9, 74 days). for Block 5). However, once Falcon Heavy Flight 3 is completed later this year, SpaceX may replace its nosecones with between stages and make the rockets to the active fleet of Falcon 9 propellers, which has been made possible by the design changes incorporated in the upgrade of Block 5.

The Falcon Heavy B1052 and B1053 boosters are approaching landing zones 1 and 2 before their first landing. (SpaceX)
The remote camera of US Air Force photographer James Rainier captured this spectacular view of two Falcon Heavy Block 5 side-by-side boosters entering SpaceX 1 and 2 landing areas. (USAF – James Rainier)
Closer … (SpaceX)
Mission accomplished! Taken by Airman Alex Preisser, this photo shows the B1052 and the B1053 shortly after getting immobilized in the SpaceX landing zones. (USAF – Alex Preisser)

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