SpaceX launch of the Crew Dragon mission

November 15th, 2020 |

30-second images from all 16 ABI spectral bands of GOES-16 [click to play animation | MP4]

30-second images from all 16 ABI spectral bands of GOES-16 [click to play animation | MP4]

Overlapping 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sectors provided 30-second images from all 16 ABI spectral bands of GOES-16 (GOES-East) — which showed signatures of the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (carrying the Crew Dragon mission) shortly after sunset on 15 November 2020 (above). Moving rapidly northeastward was the thermal signature of air that was super-heated by the rocket exhaust, evident in all of the Near-Infrared bands (3-6) and Infrared bands (7-16) — in addition to a separate signature of the low-altitude booster rocket condensation cloud that was seen in all of the Infrared bands (drifting slowly eastward offshore, away from the launch site).

Even though a dim signature was not obvious in the Visible bands (1, 2), AWIPS cursor sampling of reflectance values from GOES-16 Bands 1, 2 and 3 at 0027 UTC (below) revealed small values (0.1%) for those two spectral bands at the location of the brightest Band 3 pixel (near the launch site).

Cursor sampling of reflectance values from GOES-16 Bands 1, 2 and 3 at 0027 UTC [click to enlarge]

Cursor sampling of reflectance values from GOES-16 Bands 1, 2 and 3 at 0027 UTC [click to enlarge]

In a zoomed-in comparison of GOES-16 Visible and Near-Infrared spectral bands (below), a special enhancement was used to enhance reflectance — obvious rocket booster signatures were apparent in the Near-Infrared bands (3-6), and a small bright pixel was even seen in the Band 2 Visible imagery during the ~1.5 minutes following the 0027 UTC launch.

GOES-16 Visible and Near-Infrared spectral bands [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Visible and Near-Infrared spectral bands [click to play animation | MP4]

A 16-panel display of all GOES-16 ABI spectral bands from 0026-0031 UTC is shown below.

16-panel display of all GOES-16 ABI spectral bands, 0026-0031 UTC [click to play animation]

16-panel display of all GOES-16 ABI spectral bands, 0026-0031 UTC [click to play animation]

A GOES-17 (GOES-West) Mesoscale Sector was also positioned over the launch area — in a comparison of 1-minute GOES-17 and 30-second GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below), the rocket booster engine thermal signature was prominent during the first 2 minutes post-launch. The images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite.

Upper-level Water Vapor images (top panels) and Shortwave Infrared images (bottom panels) from GOES-17 and GOES-16 [click to play animation | MP4]

Upper-level Water Vapor images (top panels) and Shortwave Infrared images (bottom panels) from GOES-17 (left) and GOES-16 (right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Larger-scale views of Shortwave Infrared and Water Vapor images from GOES-16 and GOES-17 are shown below (credit: Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/CIMSS @GOESguy).

 

 

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