the big front yard – watching a night launch in central florida

spacex launch 4 march 2016

Yesterday evening marked another SpaceX launch from the east coast of Florida. A Falcon 9 launched SES-9, a geosynchronous satellite to owned and managed by SES (Société Européenne des Satellites). Because it was right at sundown, there were interesting lighting effects, especially the launch trail. I spent too much time watching the flight before I remembered I had a camera with me. Or perhaps that’s the way I should approach it. The older I get, the less intent I am to photograph everything interesting I come across.

spacex launch 4 march 2016 - staging

Towards the end of the observable part of the launch the vehicle arced over and began it’s orbital insertion downrange. You can see two small points of light in the second photo where the first stage and second stage (the brighter point) have separated. I managed to grab this photo, then just stood there watching the points continue on downrange until they just faded out due to distance.

One of the benefits of living where I do is the bit of vicarious living I experience when I watch a launch, especially a SpaceX launch. This certainly isn’t the first I’ve observed first hand since moving into this house back in 1985. I might not be closer to Canaveral, but I’m close enough to see the launch contrails and the engines burning in the night sky. I think I like night launches the best of all.