Falcon Heavy First Launch - Vertical Rocket Contrail

JFDee

Senior Member
At least one photo captured the (partial) trail of the Falcon Heavy during launch. As in other rocket launches, it visualizes different conditions in atmospheric layers at different altitudes.

There will likely appear video material about the launch that clears up the question if the trail ceased to form at the upper end as seen here - or if the gap between rocket and trail is just very large.

This is from Gregg Newton / Reuters, appearing in the article about the launch in the Guardian:

 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I was curious about the fuel used in the Falcon Heavy. It turns out to be very similar to jet fuel, but much more highly purified:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RP-1

Basically it's almost pure hydrocarbon, and is burned using liquid oxygen as the oxidiser. In theory that should produce almost exclusively carbon dioxide plus water as the exhaust products, so we are definitely seeing a contrail here rather than smoke.
 
I was curious about the fuel used in the Falcon Heavy. It turns out to be very similar to jet fuel, but much more highly purified:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RP-1

Basically it's almost pure hydrocarbon, and is burned using liquid oxygen as the oxidiser. In theory that should produce almost exclusively carbon dioxide plus water as the exhaust products, so we are definitely seeing a contrail here rather than smoke.
Paraffin worked for the Russians, better than producing all the pollutants of the Space Shuttle boosters.

"All Soyuz rockets use RP-1 and liquid oxygen (LOX) propellant, with the exception of the Soyuz-U2, which used Syntin, a variant of RP-1"


Look no click.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_(rocket_family)
 
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