December 23rd, 2018: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:51 A.M. EST, delivering the U.S. Air Force's first GPS III satellite, SV01 — nicknamed "Vespucci" — to medium earth orbit. This launch came after four previous attempts were scrubbed or postponed due a technical issue and weather throughout the previous week.
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A few images from various visits to the launchpad. With the launch being scrubbed or delayed four times, we ended up visiting SLC-40 five times before the sixth visit resulted in remote cameras with pictures of the launch. In order: Monday night setup, Tuesday afternoon "refresh," Wednesday afternoon "pull" (taking cameras from pad), Friday afternoon setup, Saturday afternoon refresh, Sunday afternoon pickup. With each sequential visit, I took fewer and fewer pictures.
A tight crop of a telephoto image from the ITL Causeway, about 2.9 miles from the rocket. Note the individual at the bottom of the frame! Telephoto lens compression is a neat phenomenon.
One of my cameras randomly triggered at sunrise on December 18th, the morning of the first launch attempt. How nice would it be to have a launch at this time? Someday.
Finally, on the 5th try, launch! As seen from 2.9 miles away, Falcon 9 finally launches GPS III SV01.
Some remote camera views from outside SLC-40.
Closeup shots.
I was lucky to get any dew-free images as many photographers had all their images ruined by dew. Unfortunately the shot I wanted most suffered from the same fate. I hope to try it again at a future launch, but as Elon Musk has said, it's important to share our failures, too, so here's the dewed-out shot.