I’ve made a pretty big mistake in my article yesterday about the Falcon 90 launch of NROL-76.
This is the fact that they used high-end cameras and telescope systems to track the booster for it’s entire flight and return to land.
Seriously, re-watch the footage: aside from a few sections to show the on-booster camera in full, they don’t cut away from the Falcon 9 at all.
This is, of course, because the lower stages don’t go too high in the atmosphere (edge of space, generally) and don’t go too far from the launch site, but it’s still damned impressive to see. Cameras tracked previous boosters following staging, sure, but they would continue out into the ocean: this one, of course, came back to the CCAFS landing pad for Falcon 9 stages, and made its landing, as shown on the livestream.
IMO this is due to the lack of anything else to show following stage 1 shutdown: can’t show classified payloads and all, so why not just show the booster? They are filming it anyway, this is just the first time it was shown as the live feed focus. Nothing new here really beyond them showing it.
In the event you didn’t watch said live stream, click the link to the other article and check it out. Also, yes, that article is being updated to reflect this forgotten bit of information. This goes to show how I pretty much skipped watching this launch, even in replay form – SpaceX doesn’t excite me like it does others…