The Amazing Camera Work Involved in the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch

Seemingly the whole world stopped and watched the successful SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch a couple of weeks ago. Here's an inside look at the camera technology behind the amazing footage.

We have become used to seeing smooth high-definition tracking shots of SpaceX rocket launches and the Falcon Heavy launch was no exception. Viewers were treated to exceptional footage of the launch, stage separation, and the two rocket side cores landing in unison back at Cape Canaveral. This engrossing video from Primal Space explains in detail the complex camera and tracking technology involved in filming and broadcasting these amazing events.  

As the video clearly demonstrates, consumer-grade camera technology is not capable of steadily tracking a fast-moving rocket (anyone have a 10,000mm lens I can borrow for the next rocket launch?). Instead, long-range tracking cameras are utilized in a similar fashion as when NASA was sending men into space. Of course, technological improvements have automated much of the process with increasing precision and clarity, streaming 4K video live to anyone with a working internet connection. 

The next SpaceX Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for February 21, barring any setbacks (it was originally scheduled for February 18). You can stream it live on SpaceX's website.

Lead Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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3 Comments

Oliver Kmia's picture

And you can buy the 2540 mm lens used to film that type of rocket launch. 180 lbs though!
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Huge-NASA-mirror-tele-lens-Jonel-100-2540mm-F-8...

Aneesh Kothari's picture

Would be tempting but $850 for shipping is just too much

William Howell's picture

Amazing and beautiful, technology is something, ain’t it.