|Under the Rocket: Before & After|
|Back to Delta 4-Heavy / DSP-23 launch photos|
|After many requests and an enormous generation of interest following a post on the technology blog Gizmodo and subsequent publishment in Popular Photography (Dec. 2009) and also NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (Dec. 14 2010), here is the rest of the story:
This particular photo was taken with a film camera (to date, the last time I took an image on film) with the intent of not recovering a working camera post-launch (digital cameras were still rather pricey to risk).
Knowing the forecast didn't call for rain between setup and launch time, the camera was not weather protected as is the norm for remote launch cameras. With the hopes of doing all I could to make it withstand 1.9 million pounds of thrust, from a rocket as tall as a 24-story skyscraper and lifting off just about 140 feet away, it was secured to the ground with three stakes and a nylon ratchet anchoring the tripod to the ground (a typical setup for a remote launch photo this close; I have personally witnessed cameras thrown hundreds of feet by the fury of launches that were not properly secured, and even some that were).
The result on this one: a spectacular shot, a lens destroyed (though still in one piece), a camera still working and a missing trigger...
A careful search of the area finally found the sound-activated home-built trigger further from the pad, stopped only by the pad's perimeter fence several hundred feet behind the camera. And yes, it still worked.
All photos below copyright Greg Frechette.