When SpaceX launched a new Starlink fleet into orbit last week, the rocket wasn’t the only star.
as SpaceX prepared its ground-tracking cameras for the early morning Falcon 9 rocket launch from Florida on May 18, and the operators got a spectacular view of the near-full moon. Minutes later, the Falcon 9 launched 53 Starlink satellites into space from Path 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
“What you see on your screen is this incredible live recording of the creature being captured by one of our tracking cameras at the Cape,” said SpaceX production manager Jessie Anderson during a live broadcast. “These are the same cameras we use to track Falcon 9 during launch, and today we get a bonus view of the moon, which looks pretty incredible on your screen.” Anderson said the view was captured with the help of a SpaceX launch engineer named John.
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The amazing sights of the solar system didn’t stop there.
When SpaceX launched the Starlink mission at 6:54 a.m. EDT (2254 GMT), a corporate photographer captured a stunning view of the Falcon 9 with the rising sun.
In one photo, the Falcon 9 hovers in space in a silhouette as the morning sun glows with warm yellow-orange light. A second image captures the moment the Falcon 9 crossed in front of the sun, as seen by the photographer.
The next SpaceX rocket launch will be the company’s Transporter 5 rideshare mission with a variety of small satellites for customers. That flight is not scheduled until May 25 from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.