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

Article written: 4 Jun , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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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.

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15 Responses

  1. Member
    Aqua says

    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. Jorge says

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

  3. Member
    Aqua says

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

  4. Member
  5. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    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!! 😛

  6. Nancy Drew says

    I say ORION live on.Congrats to SpaceX, but they are still in the BABY stage!

  7. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    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.)

  8. Astrofiend says

    Good looking rocket too….

  9. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    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.

  10. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    “4 combustion chambers” – 4 combustion chambers each.

  11. Member
    Aqua says

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

  12. Olaf says

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

    Could this have been a future design somehow?

  13. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    @ Olaf,

    Could you have been mistaken somehow? 🙂

  14. weeasle says

    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!!

  15. Olaf says

    @IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
    Yes I was mistaken.

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