How are SpaceX rocket launches filmed?

by Helka Homba   Last Updated May 02, 2017 00:18 AM

If the recent NROL-76 SpaceX launch there are some really spectacular shots of the rocket blasting into the atmosphere and coming back down.

For example, at about the 14:17 mark there's a shot of the rocket stages separating when they are going well over 4 times the speed of sound and are 70km high and climbing:

SpaceX rocket separation

They obviously have a few cameras since the view is different at various times like 13:30 and 20:14.

My question is how do they so accurately track and record the rocket when it is so far away and moving so fast? What type of camera might they use and how is it operated?

I would think it's difficult to track so accurately manually so maybe there is a GPS tracking camera on actuators that can follow the rocket. Perhaps the footage is even taken from a plane or helicopter and not from the ground.

(Note that I'm not asking about the cameras mounted to the rocket itself, just the ones tracking it from a great distance.)

Tags : video

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