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Home / News / Closer than humanly possible: New launch pad photos capture …

Closer than humanly possible: New launch pad photos capture …

Flames from the Falcon 9 Merlin engines at liftoff. 1300 ft (400 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are now safely aboard the International Space Station after yesterday’s historic launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch marks the first time that a commercial company has launched astronauts into space. It also ends a 9-year gap, since the final flight of the Space Shuttle, in which astronauts have not flown to space from US soil.

‘Dragon arriving’: For first time, astronauts reach the space station in SpaceX capsule

I was on-site at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch and was able to place five remote cameras near the launchpad to capture liftoff of the rocket from a distance too close for human observers. The cameras used sound triggers to fire the shutters based on the roar from the Falcon’s Merlin engines.

Traveling across country during this pandemic is certainly not ideal, and we were subject to mandatory mask and social-distancing restrictions, but being able to document and share this historic event with others certainly made it worthwhile.

The sense of excitement with the locals in Florida was palpable. Many turned out to view the launch despite many of the beaches and prime viewing areas being closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. President Trump, Vice President Pence and many other VIPs were also on hand to witness the launch.

Enjoy an up-close view of the Falcon 9 rocket from the launchpad.

SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 Launch on the Saturn V crawlerway with Horizontal Integration Facility – 2100 ft (640 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 Launch – 2400 ft (725 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Liftoff of SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 – 1300 ft (400 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

SpaceX Crew Dragon clears the tower – 2000 ft (650 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 Launch – 1300 ft (400 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 Launch on the Saturn V crawlerway with Horizontal Integration Facility – 2100 ft (640 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Flames from the Falcon 9 Merlin engines at liftoff. 1300 ft (400 m) from launchpad (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2, captures from the NASA Launch Complex 39 Press site – 3 miles (5 km) away. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Falcon 9 rocket ascends towards the International Space Station. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Water vapor from the rocket sound suppression system after a successful launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)
Elon Musk in VAB

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk celebrates in NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket put two NASA astronauts into orbit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

GeekWire Photographer Kevin Lisota gives a thumbs up on his camera setup at Kennedy Space Center LC-39A launch pad.

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