Cameras are the most common form of visual sensors and I usually see one strapped on the side of the stages as well as inside the separation module to show the separation of the rocket stages. What kind of cameras are preferred and where are they mounted?


2 Answers 2


The answer is, 'it depends'. Every launcher company uses its own methods.

SpaceX uses GoPro cameras inside the payload fairings (to monitor recovery attempts) and on the landing barge (ASDS). They have more cameras on the stages, but I can't find anywhere that mentions what type of cameras are used there.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, I'm researching cold cameras that can handle 30+ km altitude in terms of temperature and also about their specifications. GoPros are somehow unreliable at cold temperatures from numerous accounts and not may other cameras are built for such activities. Could you provide a reference for the gopro thing? $\endgroup$
    – Rajath Pai
    Sep 25, 2018 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ There are some photos of recovered hardware from spaceX showing what looks like standard Gopros - google.com/search?q=spacex+fairings+gopro gets you links to an assortment. I'd be guessing but most likely cause of death would be the battery getting cold so standard gopro + heater may get you a cheap but reasonably reliable camera $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2018 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ Cameras on the fairing may not get very cold: they're jetissoned at a point where the aerodynamic heating drops below 1 kW/m^2, and the return trajectory is only a few minutes. It'd be interesting to know what cameras are used on the stages (which do get very cold). $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Sep 25, 2018 at 15:43

There are several instances of GoPros (for example) used on the ISS but that's not a launch vehicle.

GoPro cameras (for example) have been used on rockets in at least two places:

SpaceX video: Falling Back to Earth | HD Footage From Space

A GoPro inside a fairing from a recent Falcon 9 flight captured some spectacular views as it fell back to Earth. Footage is played in real time.

NASA JPL video: LDSD: Supersonic Test Flight (HD)

This answer says:

In the screen shot you can see the boom holding the camera in the bottom of the picture.

All of the sound you hear is real, picked up by the GoPro microphone. You might notice the sound go down in intensity through the main motor burn. That is due to the vehicle increasing in altitude, with the lower densities reducing the sound transmission.


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