30-second GOES-18 images of the SpaceX SARah-1 launch

June 18th, 2022 |

GOES-18 Water Vapor, Near-Infrared and Shortwave Infrared images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-18 images in this blog post are preliminary and non-operational

Overlapping 1-minute Mesoscale Sectors provided 30-second GOES-18 Water Vapor, Near-Infrared and Shortwave Infrared images (above) that revealed thermal signatures of the SpaceX launch of the SARah-1 Mission from Vandenberg Space Force Station in California at 14:19:00 UTC on 18 June 2022.

GOES-18 Water Vapor, Near-Infrared and Shortwave Infrared images at 14:21:55 UTC [click to enlarge]

Signatures of Falcon 9’s Stage 1 booster were seen immediately post-launch (for example, at 14:21:55 UTC, above), as well during its “entry burn” to initiate a launch site landing (at 14:26:25 UTC, below).

GOES-18 Water Vapor, Near-Infrared and Shortwave Infrared images at 14:26:25 UTC [click to enlarge]

Of particular interest was the brief expansion of hot water vapor and CO2 produced by initiation of the Stage 1 “boostback burn” (as seen in Water Vapor and Shortwave Infrared images at 14:22:55 UTC, below).

GOES-18 Water Vapor, Near-Infrared and Shortwave Infrared images at 14:22:55 UTC [click to enlarge]

Plume RGB images (below) provided an integrated view of the rocket booster’s hot/bright thermal signature as well as the expanding cloud of water vapor / CO2.

Plume RGB images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

A schematic of the Stage 1 trajectory is shown below.

Schematic of Falcon 9 Stage 1 booster rocket trajectory [click to enlarge]

Kudos to Todd Beltracci, The Aerospace Corporation, for providing a heads-up on this rocket launch.

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