NASA camera melts capturing SpaceX launch

30 May, 2018, 02:56 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • “Reason for toasty remote camera”

He had multiple cameras set up, and this one was actually the furthest from the launch pad. No one is more familiar with this than Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer who has taking pictures for the agency for the past 30 years.

Ingalls explains that he had six remote locations that included two outside the launch pad and four on the inside.

NASA Photographer Bill Ingalls's camera after it was caught in brushfire caused by the launch of the NASA/German GRACE-FO from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 22, 2018. When Ingalls returned to the site, firefighters were waiting to greet him. "Unfortunately, the launch started a grass fire that toasted one of the cameras outside the perimeter", Ingalls said. He quickly realized the camera was destroyed and forced open the camera to see if the memory card could be salvaged, according to

When the photo of Ingalls' charred camera first started making the rounds, most reports stated that the camera was placed too close to the launchpad (we initially shared this explanation as well before Ingalls clarified it for us).

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Below is an animated GIF that shows the launch, the fire approaching, and the camera starting to melt. Footage released by NASA shows several frames of smoke rising from the launch site before orange flames begin to singe nearby vegetation and creep toward the camera.

The "toasty" camera, as Ingalls calls it, is probably headed for display somewhere at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Two GRACE-FO satellites were hurtled into space Tuesday, riding to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket-which Ingalls managed to capture in a stunning shot during liftoff. As part of a partnership between NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ), this satellite is the successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting Earth on March 17th, 2002.


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