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Dec. 22, 2017 SpaceX Falcon launch

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Zathrus, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Zathrus

    Zathrus Vindicator Member

    Sep 1, 2014
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    As many of you know, I live in Southern Arizona.

    Last Friday (12/22) I happened to look out my back window which is oriented facing northwest and saw an odd bright streak appearing (through a sunscreen that reduces light 80%). I ran out and was surprised to see what looked like a Missile launch from the direction of Vandenberg AFB... so I ran back in and grabbed my camera.

    As I watched I was surprised to see the streak suddenly turned 90 degrees and began accelerating horizontally.
    Then I saw separation and ignition of the next stage and it really started accelerating rapidly horizontal to the ground. This turned out to be the SpaceX Falcon launch to release ten of the new generation Iridium satellites from Vandenberg AFB.

    Vandenberg AFB is over 600 miles away from me to the NW so I was not expecting to get this kind of view.

    I had my 50mm F1.8 lens on the camera which is what I use for star shots.... I could not get the camera to focus properly. But finally got one almost in focus.... :mad: DSLR's do not focus well in low light and it was too dark for me to see or find the manual setting on the lens for infinity.
    Second stage SpaceX Falcon rocket. This is the "Merlin 1D Vacuum" rocket engine at or near full throttle
    In this horizontal burn. This engine is throttled with minimum thrust of around 360 kN (81,000 lbf) and a maximum thrust of 934 kN (210,000 lbf)

    I switched the camera to video mode and captured a short 28 second video just before it vanished behind the mountains to my SW. As it disappeared over the horizon, I panned back to where it launched from.
    It is not great picture quality, but I created a composite image from that video.

    SpaceX continues to impress me... seeing a launch was super cool. :cool:
    TheBTron likes this.

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