Falcon 9 Launch Gallery; ‘Fantastic Day,’ P–G Singularity and More

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Universe Today photographer Alan Walters was on hand for Friday’s spectacular and picture-perfect launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Enjoy a gallery of images, including this great shot of a Prandtl–Glauert singularity, or shock cone that formed around the rocket, which sometimes occurs when a sudden drop in air pressure occurs when rockets or aircraft are traveling at transonic speeds.

“This has really been a fantastic day,” said an exuberant Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, speaking with reporters after the flight. “It’s been one of the best days of my life. It’s certainly been one of the greatest days for the people of SpaceX.”

Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.
Falcon 9 pre-launch on June 4, 2010. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

15 Replies to “Falcon 9 Launch Gallery; ‘Fantastic Day,’ P–G Singularity and More”

  1. Good question Jorge. The video of the launch also shows the ‘sparks’…. Since ice doesn’t burn unless its something other than water, maybe its frozen O2, the fuel oxidizer? OR perhaps some of the cork insulation the Falcon uses?

    The contrail/plume looks very different from ‘traditional’ rocket plumes. Usually one sees shock diamonds and the plume is much more homogeneous in appearance and has the shape of an upside down candle flame. An artifact of the 10 engines? or perhaps the kerosene fuel?

  2. Oops… my bad. There are 9 engines on the first stage and 1 engine in the second stage… total of 10.

  3. Jorge:

    What’s all that debris coming off the rocket right after launch? Chunks of ice?

    NO!!! THAT IS WHAT “THEY” WANT YOU TO THINK!!!1!1!! THOSE ARE MINI UFOs SENT TO MONITOR MANKIND!!!1!1!! 😛

  4. I, for one, welcome our Prandtl–Glauert singularities. All hail MINI UFOs!

    @ Aqua: Falcon 9 first stage is 5 engines.

    Dunno about the plumes, you have to compare with a similiar setup. For 5 engines, look at Apollo V.

    [I would guess that several engines pulsing can be smoothed, especially if the fluid delivery system is separated enough. Both the Falcon 9 and the Apollo 5 had flame out capability on engines.)

  5. Yeah, my bad too. “9” is for 9 engines on 1st stage. So you have to compare with something like Soyuz, which have 4 rockets with 4 combustion chambers as 1st stage.

  6. DEFINITELY a unique configuration for rocket engines… anyway you look at it! Bottom line… it works!

  7. I am missing something, I saw a drawing where the second stage also had 9 engines.

    Could this have been a future design somehow?

  8. Well spotted Jorge and others.. I was also wondering about those large particles near the engines at liftoff.. I also noticed similar looking debris near the umbillical attachment during the static motor test 2 months ago… Hope someone might have some theories here- cork is the best I’ve heard – they look too big for O2 or fuel ice crystals – Mini UFO’s was ok too – I’ll buy it 😉 Anyways Congratulations SpaceX — Wonderful launch!!

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