The NASA photographer’s camera was melted during the SpeceX Falcon 9 launch. Bill Ingalls wrote on Facebook after the launch:
“Well, one remote cam outside the pad perimeter was found to be a bit toast(y), and yes – it made pix until [its] demise.”
It was the first time that one of Ingalls’ cameras has been melted during a launch, and he’s been snapping photos for NASA since 1989.
The camera was a Canon DSLR that Ingalls placed about a quarter mile (1,320 feet, or 402 meters) from SpaceX’s pad, called Space Launch Complex 4E, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was one of six remote cameras that the photographer set up to chronicle the launch of NASA’s twin GRACE-FO satellites on Tuesday (May 22).
But the camera managed to snapped some photos!
“At least it got a frame before the camera bit the dust,” Ingalls wrote.
This photo of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch was captured by a remote camera set up by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls before a brush fire melted the camera on May 22, 2018 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
“The Vandenberg Fire Department put the fire out pretty quickly, but unfortunately my camera got toasted” before they got to it, Ingalls said.
Space.com mentioned “The brush fire that scorched Ingalls’ camera seems to have just been bad luck. He had four other remote cameras located much closer to the launchpad that made it through unscathed and worked flawlessly. The biggest worry for a remote camera near the launchpad is usually debris, Ingalls said. A rocket launch can kick up rocks and other bits of debris that can damage or destroy a camera. Cameras close to launchpads have protective housings, while lens filters can help protect cameras located farther away, he said”.