Super-Zoomed Footage Shows SpaceX Falcon Separation as Watchers Cheer

A close-up video recorded from Sunny Isles Beach in Florida on July 14 shows SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rising into the sky after launching from the Kennedy Space Center, and captures the cheers and applause that accompanied its stage separation.

The footage was shot by David Vergel using a super-zoom, he said.

SpaceX said the Falcon 9 took off at 8:44 pm Eastern time, carrying a Dragon resupply craft bound for the International Space Station. The craft was expected to dock on Saturday.

The audio in the video comes from NASA’s livestream of the event. Credit: David Vergel via Storyful

Video transcript

- [INAUDIBLE]

- Following that will be stage separation where the first and second stages will separate. The first stage will flip around to make sure it's headed back towards the landing site at our droneship name A Shortfall of Gravitas. And then the second stage will ignite its Merlin vacuum engine to boost Dragon into low-earth orbit during the second engine start number one. You just heard the call out there for engine chilling on the second stage engine starting.

The last event is the boostback burn on the first stage. That's to reduce the velocity of that vehicle as we prepare for atmospheric entry. All of those events happen over about 45 seconds. And again, they are main engine cutoff, followed by stage separation, first stage flip, second stage engine start, and then boostback burn start. All those happening in just about 5 seconds.

- [INAUDIBLE]

- Stage separation confirmed.

[CHEERING]

- Fantastic sight.

- [INAUDIBLE] startup.

- So the first three--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- And now the boostback burn is underway. The shot on our screen right now is of the Merlin vacuum engine on the second stage. And as this view toggles, you may catch the first stage. It is firing its Merlin 1D engines. That burn on the first stage lasting in about 30 seconds. You can see the plume on the stage on the left-hand side of your screen as we're doing the boostback burn.

- Stage one boostback shutdown.

- Successful shutdown of the first stage Merlin engines for the boostback burn. Second stage engine continuing to burn. That will continue to burn until about the T plus 8 minute and 40 second mark to the mission. If you're just joining us, welcome to our 25th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for our customer, NASA. You're watching our 30th mission of 2022 and the third dragon flight to the International Space Station this year.

We lifted it off just about 4 minutes ago from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On your screen are views of our first stage on the left-hand side of your screen with it's grid fins deployed periodically controlling its altitude to make its way back home. On the right-hand side of your screen is a shot of the Merlin vacuum engine on the second stage performing its burn. It'll continue to burn for about another 4 minutes to take the Dragon to low-earth orbit.

Speaking of the entry sequence on the first stage, to can make its way back to that drone ship, it's going to have to execute two more burns. The first of those is the entry bird, where we'll ignite three of the Merlin engines. And that helps slow down the stage as we enter the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere. Following that, it will be a second burn, the landing burn.

And there we'll only ignite a single Merlin 1D engine that will bring the vehicle speed down to 0 for a soft touchdown on the droneship. We've got some great sunlight on the vehicle, and you're periodically seeing some plumes of white. That's actually from our nitrogen gas thrusters that are helping to keep the stage, the first stage oriented engines down as we are in the vacuum of space at the moment.

But once we get through that entry burn, grid fins, which are deployed, you can see two of them on your screen, will then take over control as we start to get atmospheric authority. And then the first stage will only use those great events to steer back towards our drone ship. So engine burn expected to start about 10 seconds from now.

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