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Watch any of last year's SpaceX LEO satellite deployment missions's broadcasts in YouTube, and you can see views from at least several different cameras. At least two on the 2nd stage nozzle, at least one on the payload, at least one on a gridded fin, one in the 2nd stage LOX tank, and I suspect there are many more.

The cameras serve several purposes, possibly including marketing and HR/recruiting, but primarily they are used to collect additional information about the flight.

Question: Roughly how many self-viewing cameras are present in a Falcon 9 LEO mission?

Details may be confidential or proprietary, but are there closer to a dozen or a hundred? Closer on a log scale or linear?


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above: Frames from the broadcast changed to monochrome (R+G+B)/3 and stitched manually into a GIF. From When this F9 2nd stage engine suddenly moves upon shutdown, is it moving along the rocket's axis? (currently no accepted answer).

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above: GIF (from giphy) of SpaceX's Thaicom-8 Technical Broadcast at around T+ 00:07:00 post launch, showing a flaming grid fin.

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above: GIF (from giphy) of (probably) SpaceX's CRS-5 Broadcast, from here (giphy's limit is 15 minutes). See SpaceX CRS-5 Launch: What is the footage that appears to contain bubbles?

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  • $\begingroup$ The Iridium-1 mission demonstrated that the downwards looking camera on the first stage can broadcast all the way down to landing on the ASDS. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 3 '17 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry dumb question - why 2 on the 2nd stage nozzle? I can only see one $\endgroup$ – Joe Jobs Sep 10 at 0:28
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeJobs SpaceX YouTube videos routinely switch between two different cameras on the second stage engine. My linked video above of the Thaicom 8 launch seems to have been deleted by SpaceX but you can see the switch at 24:41 in youtu.be/zBYC4f79iXc?t=1476 and then switch back again at 24:51 $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 10 at 0:33

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