NASA photographer's camera meets fiery demise during rocket launch

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Hawthorne-based SpaceX successfully launched a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base Tuesday and deployed five communications satellites and a pair of science-research orbiters.

"Well, one camera outside the perimeter of the pad is a little fried". Ingalls placed his camera Canon DSLR about a quarter mile or over 400 meters away from SpaceX's pad, called Space Launch Complex 4E.

The camera also captured the blaze that followed the launch.

The next day, Ingalls shared photos of the melted camera, known as a remote, on Facebook.

The photographer says the camera continued taking shots until it was no longer in working order.

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According to Ingalls, the biggest risk to a camera at a rocket launch is not actually flames but debris: pushing a rocket out into space can kick up a lot of rocks and stones that can fly out at high speeds and damage any cameras in the vicinity.

The camera belonged to NASA's veteran photographer Bill Ingalls who was present to capture the rocket launch. Ingalls describes the camera as "toasty", but the memory card survived. The huge plume of fire from the rocket ignited vegetation - a common occurrence during such events - in the area where the camera was located and melted it into oblivion.

"Once the fire reached the camera, it was quickly engulfed". "When Ingalls returned to the site, firefighters were waiting to greet him. It could, which is how we can see the fire approaching the camera". "I had many other cameras much closer to the pad than this and all are safe" he said in a Facebook post.

But despite being melted, the camera still managed to do its job. It was just unlucky to end up in the middle of a brush fire. "This was result of a small brush fire, which is not unheard of from launches, and was extinguished by fireman, albeit, after my cam was baked".

Ingalls has been snapping photos for NASA for almost 30 years. It can be said that the camera kept on faithfully clicking the photos until the heat destroyed it.