SES-9 (Falcon 9)
4 March 2016
Space Launch Complex 40
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
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After a scattering of failed launch attempts over the past week, an upgraded SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket finally lifts the SES-9 communications satellite, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, into orbit for SES, a Luxumbourg-based global satellite company. SES-9 will provide a host of communication services for the Asia-Pacific market. Liftoff occurred at 6:35 p.m. on 4 March 2016 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
These close-ups of the Falcon 9 on Pad 40 were taken during the first two launch attempts on 24 & 25 February when I was fortunate enough to have access to the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. Sunset on both days brought a lot of color to the rocket & sky and great disappointment when the launch was scrubbed.
The large SES-9 satellite is enclosed in the bulbous fairing atop the Falcon 9. The four towers surrounding the rocket provide lightning protection for the pad.
The periodic venting of liquid oxygen added to the drama waiting for the launch.
Some of the sunset colors on the pad.
Frozen out from the Observation Gantry on future launch attempts, I made my way to Blockhouse Beach at Patrick Air Force Base a short ways south down the coast from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
This is a composite of 58 1-second exposures taken using an intervalometer. A last minute alternative to the forgotten ND filter.
Distant view of the lift-off. All the following images were taken with a handheld lens. As the rocket rose it moved out of the sunset shadow and into the sunlight.
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