Falcon Heavy USSF-67

January 15th 2023

Sunday, January 15th, 2023, SpaceX launched the rarely seen Falcon Heavy, carrying CBAS-2 and five additional smaller space payloads within a spacecraft bus known as Long Duration Propulsive ESPA-3A. The launch, initially scheduled for January 14th, faced pre-launch delays. Ironically, I had forgotten about the launch, despite my immense excitement for 2023 being designated the year of Falcon Heavy launches. On Saturday evening, around 7 PM, I suddenly remembered the launch attempt and was relieved to find it had been delayed until Sunday. Coincidentally, it was a three-day weekend, granting me freedom from obligations.

Following a brief discussion with my wife, I prepared the camera equipment, verified the launch details, and tried to retire early. However, I ended up going to bed even later than usual. After a quick stop at Dunkin, we embarked on our journey. Regrettably, we arrived too late to access Playalinda Beach, so I headed to the alternate spot I was familiar with, Jetty Park. We reached the park about two hours ahead of the launch, affording us time for a brisk walk to the beach, where I arranged my shots. Jetty Park, situated near Port Canaveral, offered views of cruise ships awaiting departure.

Alongside the port, a flurry of other boat traffic created a bustling atmosphere.

Between the boats, I captured a panorama of the Port Canaveral entryway.

Right before the launch, the majestic Wonder Of The Seas made her exit.

As the sun bathed the horizon in dramatic hues, we witnessed the dazzling flash of 27 Merlin engines as Falcon Heavy soared from its pad.

Lacking sufficient ND filters for the required exposure length, I captured four extended exposures of the flight using a 35mm Rokinon lens.

The exhaust plume in the lower atmosphere appeared exceptionally striking against the backdrop of the sunset.

I documented the full flight, including the dual landing of the side boosters, with the sonic booms providing a perfect send-off to a successful launch.

The official SpaceX live stream can be found here → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfxyF1_Ylkk

This post is written by Gouthaman Raveendran, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.