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Falcon 9 Incinerates Photographer’s Camera at Launch

Launching rockets into space makes for one hell of a show. For decades humanity has been at this, and almost every time hundreds flock near the site of a launch for a first-hand look at the spectacle of a man-made machine leaving Earth.
Camera destroyed by bush fire caused by Falcon 9 launch 5 photos
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These days, a decent percentage of those witnessing such events are photographers, be it for some media outlet of space agencies’ own personnel.

The need agencies have to photograph the launches arises from the necessity of having multiple points of view in case of a disaster, while media is on site because great images and stories usually come out of rocket launches. 

Most of the photographers scatter their equipment near the landing site, at a safe distance, to capture the best angles.

Bill Ingalls was one of NASA’s key men in documenting the Tuesday launch of Falcon 9 that carried the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On and five Iridium NEXT communications satellites.

One of Ingalls’s cameras, a Canon 5D worth several thousands of dollars, was burned to a crisp as a result of the Falcon launch. The huge plume of fire from the rocket ignited vegetation – a common occurrence during such events - in the area where the camera was located and melted it into oblivion.

“Well, one remote cam outside the pad perimeter was found to be a bit toast(y),” Ingalls wrote on Facebook. “Seeing many like and share this, but misreporting that this camera was close to the pad.”

“I had many other cameras much closer to the pad than this and all are safe. This was result of a small brush fire, which is not unheard of from launches, and was extinguished by fireman, albeit, after my cam was baked.”

The photographer says the camera continued taking shots until it was no longer in working order. It’s unclear which of the photos posted by Ingalls after the launch have been taken with this particular camera.


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