They popped this on me Thursday morning. The company that services our D.B. Milliken High-Speed film cameras is having a training seminar next week up in Lancaster, CA, and I get to go.
These cameras are mechanical marvels....400 frames-per-second of pin-registered 16mm color film, fully self-contained, except for the lens. I've seen them apart on the bench a few times, and was really impressed with how well they're made.
We have 10 of them running during the launch. Four of them are in two separate blast-proof housings made of 3/8" armor plate covered with ablative coatings, and have a 6" diameter double-pane borosilicate glass window. These are located about six feet from the edge of the flame bucket, and really get hammered during a launch. The windows usually get pitted, broken, melted, or "all of the above", but we have had times where the windows came out unscathed.
Three more are located in an enclosure about thirty feet away, mounted at different angles of elevation. They catch the launch vehicle once it comes up out of the flame bucket and the nozzles start to gimble.
The remainder are located up on the hangar roof and catch the view from a different perspective.
Our partners who build the launch vehicle can tell a lot of things from the flame color, and how the nozzles move during ascent, but that's not my area of expertise. Since I'm in "Operations Support", helping the Range Operations Team includes work with the Photo-Optics guys who document the entire launch process, from integrating the payload, to the launch vehicle going out of sight after liftoff.
It should be an interesting class/seminar, as I enjoy working on this kind of stuff.
And the BEST part is that after we "graduate" Thursday morning, we get a private tour of the Edwards Flight Test Facility!
Should be "just a little" fun to see things that the public doesn't normally get to see.
The embedded video is shot from these cameras, and is a montage of the various views. I think the launch was for the XM-3 mission, or at least that's where I remember the music during that footage.
This video looks like it was ripped from the souvenir "Mission Highlights" DVD that we make for every mission.