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Seconds from launch? A prepped rocket on the launchpad

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.27, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Yesterday we showed you a video created by satellite imaging company Planet of the launch of their most recent flock of Doves using a series of images they had captured from orbit. As we mentioned in that post, it was almost certainly a first for satellite imaging. After writing that post we were having a look around various Spaceports (also known as Cosmodromes) and came across this sight:


Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on December 4th, 2010

We can see a rocket on the launch pad with vapour streaming off it as if it has just been fuelled and the support structure (known as a strongback) is tilted back as if it is about to launch. However, after some research we discovered that it is, in fact, a test firing and not the actual launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The actual launch took place four days later on December 8th, 2010.

For more SpaceX related sights in Google Earth see this post.

Wikipedia lists the world’s Spaceports on this page but does not give coordinates. Those are provided as part of a longer list of rocket launch sites. We put the information into a KML file for you to view in Google Earth.

Of special note is Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia, which is still under contruction:

before
after

Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia, under construction. 2007 vs 2016.

Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center features this rocket on display:

Unfortunately, some of the locations we were interested in do not have recent imagery. For example, the European Space Agency (ESA) launches from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana in South America. The most recent image of the key launchpads is from 2001. Also, SpaceX is building a private spaceport near Brownsville, Texas, but the imagery is from January 2016 before serious construction started.

The post Seconds from launch? A prepped rocket on the launchpad appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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SpaceX in Google Earth

by Timothy Whitehead on Jan.11, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

This weekend, on January 14th, SpaceX hopes to return to flight with their first launch since the explosion last September on the launchpad of their rocket carrying the Amos-6 mission. As fans of SpaceX, we thought this would be a good time to have a look at some SpaceX related sights in Google Earth.


Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral, Florida, location of the launchpad explosion. Image captured one month after the explosion.


If you switch to ‘historical imagery’ with the 3D buildings layer turned on, you can see a 3D model of a SpaceX rocket on the launch pad.

SpaceX is noted for being able to (some of the time) land the first stage of their rockets either on land or on an autonomous spaceport drone ship.


Space Launch Complex 1, Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX’s east coast landing site.


One of SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ships named ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ in Port of Jacksonville, Florida.


One of the drone ships in Port of Jacksonville, Florida as seen in 3D imagery. We are not certain which as there is no name and the deck layout is slightly different from ‘Of Course I Still Love You’

‘Of Course I Still Love You’ can also be seen in Port Cape Canaveral in October 2016. See the KML file at the end of the post for the location.


A successfully landed first stage being unloaded from ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ in Port Cape Canaveral in June 2016. See in Street View.

Note that you can also explore some of the launch complexes in Street View.


‘Just Read the Instructions’, SpaceX’s west coast drone ship seen in Port of Los Angeles, California.


The SpaceX testing facility in McGregor, Texas


SpaceX headquarters, 1 Rocket Road, Los Angeles. The X is drawn with solar panels. Also note next door neighbour Tesla.

For the above locations and more, including the location of a planned private spaceport at the southern tip of Texas, download this KML file.

The post SpaceX in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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