SpaceX SES-9 Launch Photos

On Friday, March 4th, SpaceX finally launched their SES-9 mission after several aborted attempts. The SES-9 satellite was launched atop a Falcon 9 v1.2, an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 v1.1. In order to obtain more performance without making a significant change to the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle, Falcon 9 v1.2 uses supercooled liquid oxygen instead of regularly cooled liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen is usually pretty cold – about minus 297.3 degrees Fahrenheit – but SpaceX supercools the liquid oxygen (LOX) to around minus 340 degrees. By supercooling the LOX, more propellant can be squeezed into the same space, which allows the rocket to both propel things higher into space, and have a better shot at landing on a barge. The use of supercooled liquid oxygen added complexity to the process of launching things into space, which isn’t exactly a cake walk to begin with, and SpaceX had to work through some technical bugs. The barge landing on Friday’s launch went terribly, as the live feed went to color bars almost immediately after the rocket arrived on the premises. I was down at the cape with my parents, and captured the pictures below. The light was fading and the camera was trying it’s hardest, but I managed to get a few shots. The pictures were taken from the A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway Bridge over the Indian River.

Vehicle Assembly Building in the sunset. The Falcon 9 is visible just to the left of the smaller building on the right.

Vehicle Assembly Building in the sunset. The Falcon 9 is visible just to the left of the smaller building on the right.

My loving parents.

My loving parents.

The sun setting behind us.

The sun setting behind us.

Liftoff!

Liftoff!

The contrail shining in the sunlight.

The contrail shining in the sunlight.

Just before staging.

Just before staging.

Just after staging; You can see the light reflecting off the first stage,  and the motor of the second stage.

Just after staging; You can see the light reflecting off the first stage, and the motor of the second stage.

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