Science

Rocket launch ignites brush fire, burns NASA camera

Rocket launch ignites brush fire, burns NASA camera”

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.

On May 22, NASA photographer Bill Ingalls left six cameras near a 230-foot-tall SpaceX rocket just before it blasted toward space. Because even though the Falcon 9 didn't directly toast the camera, the launch did start a fire in the area, and this is what came upon and ultimately melted the hapless camera as it sat a quarter mile away from the launchpad.

Interestingly enough, of the 6 remote cameras that Ingalls set up, only the one farthest from the launch pad was damaged at all. What was once a fancy camera was now a lump of charred and twisted plastic.

The launch went off without a glitch, but a fire sparked by the launch destroyed a camera which belonged to NASA photographer Bill Ingalls. When the rocket launched, the resulting blast started a fire that quickly spread out beyond the boundaries of the launch zone. It could, which is how we can see the fire approaching the camera.

The GRACE-FO mission stands for Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On, and is a collaboration between the USA and German Research Centre for Geosciences.

Incredibly, when Ingalls finally retrieved and cracked open his forever-ruined camera, he found that the memory card remained intact. The original GRACE mission started orbiting Earth back in 2002, and this new one will work to continue on its discoveries with "new technology".

The other cameras closer to the launch and within the safety perimeter were unharmed, as was the second remote device.

The "toasty" camera, as Mr Ingalls calls it, is likely headed for display somewhere at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, NASA said.

In the meantime, Ingalls will be traveling to Kazakhstan to photograph the June 3rd landing of the International Space Station's Expedition 55 crew.



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