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I recently analyzed some SpaceX launch footage (a Starlink deployment on September 3). I noticed a switch in camera perspective at T+00:02:20: from cameras on the ground to those attached to the Falcon 9.

This got me wondering: Launching a secondary, smaller rocket (or maybe just a high-altitude jet) with cameras attached to it, may provide reliable and higher-quality footage of the primary rocket launch.

Has this ever been done?

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    $\begingroup$ It was from the payload of a previously launched rocket...or rather, a large pile of such payloads...but here's video of a Progress launch taken from the ISS: youtube.com/watch?v=ouBfzCgXHgk $\endgroup$ – Christopher James Huff Sep 12 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ If satellites are in play...*every* rocket launch is "filmed" by early warning satellites. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 12 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ Would you accept model/high-power/amateur rockets (since you only said “a rocket”)? In that case, I'd say “most definitely”, but I’d have to do some youtube searching to come up with a proof. $\endgroup$ – Raketenolli Sep 13 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ This would be a much better question and set of answers if instead of "did it happen" there was a focus on factors that make aircraft a good observation platform and other rockets a challenging one seemingly without any clear reason to be chosen. $\endgroup$ – Chris Stratton Sep 14 at 15:26
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Gemini 2 (unmanned) was filmed for 90 seconds (second link) by an F-4

enter image description here

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The Space Shuttle SRBs had cameras, and after sep a falling SRB can clearly be seen falling with its twin. The way they fall in unison is amazing, note the parallel orientations for most of the fall.

Photo of SRB sep from another SRB

Photo of SRB falling to Earth from another SRB

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or maybe just a high-altitude jet

Some of the later shuttle launches were filmed from one of the NASA WB-57 aircraft.

enter image description here

(personal photo)

The nose-mounted camera package didn't produce terrific results IMHO.

In addition I did find video of one rocket taken from another. It's not a film of the launch so maybe doesn't qualify but...

It's a ballistic missile intercept test. The view is from one of the kill vehicles showing the target missile. It's not real exciting, just some blocky pixels. Video starts with the onboard view.

Video source Raytheon

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    $\begingroup$ I like the NASA WB-57 photo - where, when was that one taken? $\endgroup$ – finnmglas Sep 12 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @finnmglas Thanks! I live right beside Ellington Field where they are based, so I get plenty of chances to take pictures of them. This was taken in November 2015 - all three of the WB-57s were taking off for a photo shoot. I got to scoop the official photographers! But the ones I took of all three together were not as good. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 12 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @finnmglas here's an official video of the photo op youtube.com/watch?v=joXGqIoMlBY $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Sep 12 at 22:10
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It is not uncommon to film rocket launches from the rocket Probably the most famous rocket tv footage, the Saturn Inner ring.

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    $\begingroup$ This video only shows a rocket stage being filmed by another one. I was looking for a case of one rocket filming another one, while both are in mid-air. It's an interesting video though ^^ $\endgroup$ – finnmglas Sep 12 at 20:48
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The Soyuz rockets, and all R-7 derivative rockets, separate their four liquid booster rockets in unison. Sometime in the past decade, the video feeds of cameras on the core Block A stage have been available showing this stage seperaton and the four boosters falling away from the core stages.

Block B, V, G, and D stages attached to Block A stage just before booster sep.

Block B, V, G, and D stages falling away from Block A stage just after booster sep.

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