During reentry, there were two camera views. The view that looked at one of the flap hinges wound up getting ruined when the hinge failed, because debris and heat ruined the lens. But they never switched back to the fin tip view. Why?

My guess would be that a cable connecting the camera to the transmitter was burnt. Or maybe they wanted to keep monitoring the hinge. But surely they could view it among themselves while broadcasting the other view?

  • $\begingroup$ Guess, not answer: before the tip camera feed stopped showing, the two feeds were alternating reasonably regularly. After the last time the tip camera feed is shown, the hinge feed shows for about the same length as the regular alternation, and then video is lost. I suspect that this segment with no video signal is an attempt to show the tip feed, but due to damage to the flap, the feed is no longer accessible. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20 at 4:02

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As far as I'm aware, no official statement has been made about this, but the obvious implication of not switching back to the fin-tip camera is that its signal had been completely lost (whether due to damage to the camera itself or the wire to the transmitter) and there was nothing there to switch to. Given how glowing-hot the hinge area was on the fin we could see, it's entirely likely that it was, as you suppose, a burned cable.

The broadcast booth at SpaceX would have been receiving all the available camera views at the same time, and the choice of which video source to put up on the stream (including the camera in the lobby with the hosts) would have been made there. The engineering team would not be watching the livestream to see what their ship was doing.

For what it's worth, I don't think the working camera's lens was actually damaged. The damage was on some sort of protective casing around the camera, which can be seen late in the descent as the casing eventually cracks, and there's a much clearer view through the crack that shows details of how much damage had been done to the fin. If the lens itself had cracked, you wouldn't have a better view, because the light would no longer be focused on the image sensor chip.


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