May 29 2017

The Bird Watchers – 1966 USAF Film On Rocket Photography

Getting back to the grind, we might as well start with this video, uploaded today , which is a digital conversion of a 1966 film about the process of filming and photographing rocket launches at Vandernberg Air Force Base.

Launches from VAFB were more common than launches from the Eastern Test Range and Cape Canaveral (Kennedy) Air Force Base, and while they used the same boosters save for a few exceptions, the payloads were quite often more important military payloads for reconnaissance and the like.

While this film focuses on the the launch of the ESSA-3 satellite, a quite tame weather observation satellite, it could just as easily have been any number of special military payloads!

A Titan IV, a much later booster that would fly from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the 90’s and 2000’s.

That being covered, film of rocket launches, especially detailed views of the actual engine ignition or general flight operations, staging and the like, is amazing to me. There are other videos I have planned to share on this subject, but for now, this one will do nicely. This film focuses on the general tools used, some of which are modified World War 2 artillery mounts, and shows the results of this very demanding, but necessary, process.rg

Note the Titan booster launching in the opening scene – someone replying to a comment I made on the video told me it was a Titan III-B launch which makes total sense as that was a west-coast type booster which launched Agena-based spy satellites, and the Titan III-B did not have the massive solid boosters that the rest of the Titan III and Titan IV family had.

Anyway, past that little rant, enjoy the video.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: