Gallery: Dragon/Falcon 9 Launch and Recovery Photos, Videos


Enjoy a few glimpses at history from the Dec. 8 launch of Falcon 9 and Dragon.

Falcon 9 launch with Dragon. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket at 10:43 a.m. EDT. Credit: Alan Walters ( for Universe Today.
SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: Alan Walters ( for Universe Today.

Here is video from a camera on Dragon while in orbit.

Dragon descends via parachute. Credit: SpaceX
Dragon recovery. Credit: SpaceX

And for good measure, here’s the launch video again:

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s statement on the success of the launch:

17 Replies to “Gallery: Dragon/Falcon 9 Launch and Recovery Photos, Videos”

  1. A great accomplishment, and fantastic pictures.

    I’ve been meaning to ask – what are the four towers surrounding the launch pad?

  2. Great images.. indeed they are historic! What an exciting time to be alive!

    The first video apparently shows the interior of the Dragon capsule on orbit with just a bare glimpse of the Earth rolling by the porthole on the upper left . Otherwise… I found myself thinking, “Now, what am I looking at?” and “Why did SpaceX choose to release this particular video first?”

  3. What’s the sideways flame and puff of black smoke as it’s clearing the launch pad. It doesn’t look good.

  4. @Paul: these masts are there to protect the rocket from lightning in case storm comes while the rocket is still on the launch pad

    @Peter: in the SpaceX statement, that black smoke came from a check valve that came loose and passed and burned through the rocket exhaust.

  5. Ignerent comments: I thought the launch photo was striking because it’s just a bare cylinder. Looking at pictures of other rockets, it looks like fins on rockets are as passe as fins on cars — is guidance now done by tilting the nozzle? Why does the Falcon 9 not have bulges, or on the other hand, how do Ariane 5 and Atlas V get away with them — aren’t there aerodynamic penalties for them?

    1. We might expect SpaceX to add fold-out wings to the booster section in the near future? The Russians have designed and tested a similar concept. The wing is entirely contained in the booster section for launch. After MECO the wing rotates 90 degrees and jet engines pop out. The booster then flies to any commercial sized airport.

  6. There was some kind of plume on the side of the rocket in the begging of the launch. Anybody know what was that ?

    1. SpaceX said the plume was from one of the vent/fill lines. A check valve failed and the spilled fuel ignited. POUFFF!

  7. About 33+ seconds into the launch … It looked very big and dangerous but it might be something normal 🙂

  8. I think one of the most impressive aspects of the Falcon 9 is how little pad infrastructure is required to support a launch. This is the difference between NASA and a private enterprise. To NASA, the space launch business is a jobs program. More people, more infrastructure, more levels of management, more bureaucracy are all pluses. They mean bigger budgets, more “plum jobs” for the current political administration to hand out, more contracts for construction and maintenance to let. To a private concern, efficiently accomplishing a task is paramount. Space access will only become routine and affordable when it’s taken over by private enterprise.

  9. These photos are awesome! But, after watching the first video I echo Aqua when he wrote that he wondered what he was watching. I had exactly the same thought!!!

  10. I am really impressed by the accomplishments of SpaceX. Well done!
    Why was the name “Dragon” chosen?

  11. Note to Messenger: Do we really need to hear about your NASA beef? Congratulations to the Space X organization for a worthy and significant accomplishment!

  12. It find it difficult to understand why Space X needs a reentry license from the U.S. FAA, when the reentry took place over the Pacific Ocean, I. E. international waters?

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