Famous photographer Bill Ingalls has vast experience in rocket launching. But he was even taken aback when one of his remote cameras melted due to spark caused but the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch last Tuesday. But the camera did pick up some pictures of the liftoff.
The camera which was supposed to have been damaged was a Canon DSLR that was fixed a quarter mile away from the SpaceX launch pad. It is known as the Space Launch Complex 4E, and it is situated at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Station. IT was one of the six cameras which the veteran photographer had fixed to take snapshots of the GRACE-FO launch of NASA on Tuesday (May 22). Apart from the GRACE-FO satellites, five Iridium satellites were also lifted off along with the Falcon 9 rocket.
According to Ingalls, the camera got damaged due to a brush fire which was caused at the time of the lift-off of the rocket into space. A firefighter noticed the damaged camera after the missile was launched and thereby informed Ingalls about the condition when he arrived at the spot to collect his remote cameras. Although the firefighter extinguished the camera most of the portion was damaged from burning. This is the first time that one of his cameras got destroyed since he had been snapping photos for the Space Agency since 1989.
But although the camera was melted, it did a superb job for which it was placed. It took snaps of the rocket being launched above the ground. In one of the photo, it was seen that the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The next snap showed how the camera was engulfed by the fire and the smoke at the time of lifting of the missile. One last photo from Ingalls depicts the remaining portion of the camera after it was melted in the fire.
It is believed that it has been sheer bad luck on the part of Ingall’s camera. This is so because this incident took place for the first time in his career. The other cameras which were implanted much closer to the launch pad were not destroyed, and they performed their job pretty well. However this particular camera was located at a distant place, it got melted.
The biggest worry for such remote cameras is the debris which gets generated when the rockets launch off from the ground, and there are chances that the cameras may get damaged.