Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer, didn’t really expect his camera will be melted by the SpaceX Falcon 9 Build 5 launch which happened on May 22nd. Last Tuesday, Mr. Ingalls had a strange surprise after the Falcon 9 rocket took off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base located in Santa Barbara County. One of the six cameras he uses ended up completely charred.
The NASA photographer’s Canon 5D DSLR camera simply caught fire even though the device was at about 400 meters away from the rocket’s launching pad. But, despite this huge distance, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is related to the unhappy event.
What caused that? Is SpaceX Flacon 9 Build 5 more powerful than the previous ones?
To be honest, no, not at all. However, the reason has nothing to do with it as explained by the NASA photographer who has been working with the American space agency since 1980.
This premiere in his career is due to “a brush fire,” as he explains on his Facebook page.
“I had other cameras that were much closer to the launch pad and all are intact. This is due to a small brush fire, an event far from unprecedented during launches and which was mastered by firefighters even though after my camera was cooked,” said Bill Ingalls.
The camera never stopped shooting, even though it was on fire
However, very impressively, the camera was able to take pictures during the fire. The pics range from the rocket taking off to the flames burning the lens. Fortunately, for posterity, the memory card was not damaged in the fire.
Definitely, a good story to tell and a new great experience for the NASA photographer, even though not quite a fortunate one. As for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch, it was a successful one in deploying 5 Iridium communication satellites and sending the NASA GRACE-FO mission.