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New SpaceX video shows what it’s like to be inside the nose cone of a Falcon 9 rocket

By Fabrice Pierre-Toussaint

Staff Writer for Telegraph Local | See my LinkedIn

SpaceX on June 3 launched around 60 internet-beaming Starlink satellites into orbit, helping the rocket company work toward establishing a space-based internet service possibly by the year’s end.

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Some 480 of the desk-size satellites have been launched, though SpaceX needs about 800 to start serving customers, according to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer and president. The high-stakes project may one day be worth up to $50 billion annually, founder Elon Musk has said.

The latest Starlink mission shot to space aboard a 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket. It was the company’s eighth such Starlink launch, so it was by most appearances similar to the others.

However, this time SpaceX released a video taken from inside the Falcon 9’s payload bay during launch. A camera attached to one of two halves of its fairing, or nose cone, recorded the clip as the parts separated in space.

“Starlink fairing deploy sequence,” SpaceX tweeted on Tuesday evening.

The video lasts at least 10 seconds,  a very mesmerizing footage. Those types of views, usually kept secret by other companies, offer a not-too-often look into the workings of a rocket launch.

The video started by showing the illuminated interior of Falcon 9’s uppermost payload section.

In the space between the two fairings sits a stack of five dozen Starlink satellites. Along with their deployment mechanisms, the payload weighs about 18 tons, roughly the mass of a school bus.

Immediately, the fairings fly apart to reveal the darkness of space some 60 miles above Earth while the rocket travels at nearly 11 times the speed of sound.

The Starlink stack eventually goes out of view as the rocket’s second or upper stage propels the payload toward orbit. The lower or first-stage booster dropped off earlier in the launch, later landing on a boat for recovery and reuse.

As the two fairing halves fall back to Earth, they drop through the rocket’s exhaust plume. A few sparks fly from the heat of the second stage’s engine, and the video ends.

Furthermore, during a live broadcast of the Starlink launch, SpaceX showed another unprecedented view, the latch-like mechanism by which a stack of Starlink spacecraft is deployed from its rocket ride.

The first, posted on Twitter by SpaceX on July 3, 2019, shows the payload section of a much more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket as it launched the Space Test Program-2 mission led by the US Department of Defense. The flight was essentially a rideshare of numerous military test satellites (though 152 capsules of human cremains also made it board).

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The video is longer, showing nearly a full minute of footage as the fairings separate and careen back to Earth. Sparks fly and gases glow from the friction caused by the fairing plowing through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour.”View from the fairing during the STP-2 mission when the fairing returns to Earth, friction heats up particles in the atmosphere, which appear bright blue in the video,” SpaceX tweeted about the clip with its release.

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