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This must be the most beautiful image ever of a rocket launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Florida.

The growing frequency of SpaceX launches from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida gives photographers plenty of opportunities to train their long lenses at the ascending rockets in the hope of capturing something special.

SpaceX’s latest launch took place during sunrise on Wednesday morning, and a short while later it shared several stunning images of its Falcon 9 rocket climbing toward space.

Falcon 9 launches GPS III satellite to orbit

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 18, 2023

More photos of Falcon 9’s launch of GPS III →

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 18, 2023

The Falcon 9 rocket was carrying a GPS satellite to orbit for the U.S. Space Force and is shown against a dramatic orange backdrop, with a large rising sun reflecting in the water below.

If interested, you can check out more images from recent SpaceX missions on its Flickr page.

As usual, SpaceX livestreamed the mission using multiple video cameras to track the rocket as it headed to space.

Following stage separation, the first stage returned to Earth and performed a perfect upright landing on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first-stage booster supporting the mission previously launched the four Crew-5 astronauts to the International Space Station in October 2022. Bringing it safely back to Earth means it can be refurbished and used again for an upcoming mission.

Last year SpaceX smashed its own record for launches, sending a total of 61 missions skyward using its trusty Falcon 9 rocket, while one launch involved its more powerful, triple-booster Falcon Heavy vehicle.

With 2023 already looking like a busy year for the company, it’s likely to achieve even more launches over the next 12 months. With that in mind, we can expect to see more spectacular images from SpaceX before too long.

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Trevor Mogg
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