LONG RANGE CAMERA SYSTEM CAPTURES FIRST-EVER ROCKET BOOSTER TO SPACE AND BACK AS PART OF BLUE ORIGIN’S HISTORIC ROCKET LANDING
On November 23, two proprietary JLAIR long range optical tracking systems owned and operated by FlightLine Films successfully recorded the first time a rocket booster flew to space and returned for a vertical landing back on Earth. Blue Origin launched its New Shepard space vehicle to an altitude of 329,839 feet and FlightLine Films was hired to capture the entire ascent, separation and then landing of both the crew capsule and booster.
CEO of FlightLine Films, Jay Nemeth reports, "With one JLAIR being assigned to the booster and the other tracking the crew capsule, flight controllers had eyes on both vehicles at speeds up to Mach 3.72. Despite some cloud cover, we maintained imaging of the entire flight with our Short Wave Infrared Camera.”
Once the booster and capsule descended through the clouds, FlightLine Films resumed imaging with all sensors including two RED Dragons with 8000mm optics.
About FlightLine Films
In support of the private / commercial space industry and motion picture community, FlightLine Films was created to provide state of the art imaging and cinematography for these challenging missions. In addition to the JLAIR, the world's only privately owned rocket tracking systems, FlightLine Films also provides space-rated camera systems for use in launch vehicles and orbital components. Zero G qualified crew members with full pressure suit experience can capture cinematic imagery in the challenging environment of space flight.
Cal State L.A. Aerospace STE[A]M Fair 2014
Join FlightLine Films and the JLAIR team, at Cal State L.A. in mid October. Flightline Films will be offering students the opportunity to experience hands-on operation of the JLAIR - FlightLine's mobile long range tracker. Students will be able to see real-world applications of skills that are not only used in the space industry, but have created off-shoot industries by pioneers with a vision.
In addition, there will be multiple presentations by a variety of speakers in different areas of physics, aerospace, biology, engineering, math and arts.
Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2014
FlightLine Films spent the day, in spectacular late summer weather, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to film the new online video promo for the upcoming Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2014. The daring and death-defying aerial maneuvering by Champion Red Bull Pilot Kirby Chambliss, was captured from several vantage points for this video montage.
With FlightLine's Tom Schaus piloting the helicopter, Jay Nemeth operated the exterior Gyron camera system mount for the aerial shots. The FlightLine ground crew captured the images from strategic locations along the raceway in high-speed digital capture.
FlightLine Films was on hand for SPIE (The International Society for Optics and Photonics) at the San Diego Convention Center for the week leading up to Labor Day weekend.
Conferees were welcomed by the FlightLine Films' team with tours of the mobile broadcast studio and long-range optical tracking vehicle (JLAIR 1). Guests were also afforded a unique opportunity to view hands-on the actual space-flown cameras and electronic payload system that were used for the Red Bull Stratos mission.
For the plenary session, former SPIE President and SPIE Fellow, Joseph B. Houston gave introduction to "Optical Mission Behind the Stratos Project", presented by Dennis Fisher and Jay Nemeth of FlightLine Films.
FlightLine Films sets up shop at the 2013 Space Tech Expo conference. Aerospace cinematographer and guest speaker Jay Nemeth, founder of FlightLine Films, addresses the conferees with an overview of the company's latest achievement with the Red Bull Stratos Mission.
Flightline Films, Red Bull Media House and YouTube were recently honored with an Emmy Award for "Outstanding New Approach in Sports Event Coverage" by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for our production of the Red Bull Stratos Space Jump. We would like to thank all of the talented members of our team who raised the bar for imaging aerospace missions. We are honored to be recognized by the Academy for the hard work we put into the mission:
Space Shuttle Endeavour, flying piggyback atop NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), landed Thursday at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The 12:52 p.m. PDT touchdown completed the third leg of the shuttle's ferry flight to Los Angeles, where it is destined for public display at the California Science Center (CSC). FlightLine Films was at Edwards AFB with JLAIR 1 providing long range imaging of the Orbiter/SCA including Shortwave Infrared video.
A National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload was successfully launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3, Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California, at 2:39 p.m. PST, on September 13, 2012. This is the fourth of four NRO launches for 2012. FlightLine Films JLAIR 1 was located at Vandenberg Tracking Site 45 in support of the launch.
High Gain UHF antennas are installed on JLAIR to provide constant pointing at Target with 100% accuracy for telemetry and 2 way voice communications.
FlightLine Films is working with L3 communications to develop a complete camera and transmission solution for Lunar Rovers competing in the Google Lunar X Prize competition. FlightLine’s Lunar Rover test vehicle can be configured with a variety of camera and transmission systems for real world testing. The Rover is 6 wheel electrical drive with a pan tilt mechanism for camera aiming.
JLAIR Mobile Optical Tracking System on display at the Expo. Exhibitors included SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace, ATK, United Launch Alliance, and Sage Cheshire Aerospace.
JLAIR 2, FlightLine’s second Optical tracking system, goes on line with state of the art imaging and HD signal distribution via terrestrial microwave from a 52’ pneumatic mast, and Satellite Video over IP.
A one meter parabolic antenna is mounted between FlightLine telescopes to provide a high gain receive system for down-linked video from the flight vehicle. Since the target vehicle is always in the cross hairs of the JLAIR telescopes, pointing accuracy of the antenna is assured.
FlightLine Films exhibits at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. Space rated camera systems and housings were on display.
The Final Flight of the Space Shuttle. Shuttle Atlantis lifts off from pad 39A as JLAIR 1 tracks with High Definition, High Speed Phantom Flex, and Shortwave Infrared cameras.
JLAIR 1 and the FlightLine team cover the Spaceport America Runway Dedication
Our team provided Long Range Optical Tracking of White Knight Two / Space Ship Two as well as coverage of the Press event. FlightLine also assisted with aircraft communications between WK2 and flight controllers using our high power frequency agile radio systems.
FlightLine Films exhibits at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight
JLAIR 1 was on hand for demonstrations and tours of the control room during ISPCS 2010.
FlightLine Films crew visits Spaceport America.
Some of the FlightLine team took a tour of the Terminal Hangar Facility under construction as well as practiced tracking aircraft approaches on the newly built runway.
Today the Red Bull Stratos mission team provided a first look at the custom camera systems that will record and broadcast Felix Baumgartner's stratospheric mission in real time and high definition.
The details, announced at capsule manufacturing facility Sage Cheshire Aerospace, reveal that capturing a potentially supersonic freefall from the edge of space may be one of the most complex elements of the Red Bull Stratos mission. But with in-flight cameras mounted on both the capsule and Baumgartner's space suit, the unique setup holds potential to provide an almost first-hand perspective of what it's like to bail out in near space and free fall 23 miles above Earth.
When current record-holder USAF Col. (Ret.) Joe Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet (50 years ago this month), his team used spring-wound motion picture cameras warmed by hot-water bottles to document his free fall. Red Bull Stratos will use high-definition video cameras and ultra-high-definition 4K digital cinematography cameras so powerful that the challenge will be keeping them cool in an environment where the air is too thin to wick away their prodigious heat.
Ken Arnold, the man who engineered Kittinger's Project Excelsior camera systems, remembers those pioneering jumps vividly. "I look at the pictures quite often and the one that I'm most proud of is the one where he goes out the door," Arnold says, citing a heart-stopping shot of Kittinger's lone form dropping into the void. He adds, "[The cameras] showed us very definitely what happened."
Like Arnold, Jay Nemeth, the Red Bull Stratos Director of Photography and founder of FlightLine Films, is keenly aware that the mission camera systems he has developed hold responsibility for providing research data. He notes, "The better the quality of the images, the more we give the scientists to look at later and analyze -- the little nuances and details that are essential in understanding something that's never been done: a man breaking the sound barrier with his body."
Nemeth also acknowledges that the complexity of the Red Bull Stratos system is a "double-edged sword," saying, "We will get much more vibrant footage, more angles, more coverage; but we also have to cover more failure modes -- there is much more to go wrong."
The Red Bull Stratos team of world-leading production experts has equipped the capsule with nine high-definition cameras, three 4K digital cinematography cameras and three high-resolution digital still cameras. Of these, four are space-rated units attached to the exterior base of the capsule. Another eight are in pressurized housings also on the exterior of the vessel -- the housings are designed to protect the sensitive cameras they contain from the near-vacuum air pressure, ice and extreme heat of the stratospheric conditions. The remaining three cameras, although positioned on the interior of the capsule, are space rated to withstand the atmospheric extremes once Baumgartner depressurizes the capsule to step out. And supporting all this is a pressurized electronics "keg" that contains approximately two miles of wiring. The ensemble capsule camera system will allow Mission Control to monitor the ascent visually for any signs of pilot decompression sickness or other safety hazards; record all activity for the benefit of future scientific research; and provide viewers of the worldwide broadcast with perspectives of the capsule, the skyscape and Baumgartner himself.
"We have basically created a flying video production studio," says Nemeth. "The cameras are remotely controlled from a station in the Mission Control Center, where camera settings can be adjusted and different angles can be chosen for downlink to flight controllers as well as live TV broadcast and webcast viewers at home."
Recognizing that a single image can crystallize the power of a moment, the Red Bull Stratos team has made still photography a priority as well. "There's an iconic shot of Joe Kittinger on the cover of LIFE magazine that shows him freefalling against the background of a cloud bank about 15 miles below," Nemeth marvels. "It was taken by an automatic camera mounted on the gondola by National Geographic, a 35 millimeter that was cutting-edge at the time -- but it used film; it wasn't digital. We're so lucky that image survived the journey."
Adventure sports photographer Christian Pondella, who was brought in as a consultant early in the still camera system's development to provide input on lenses and camera mount positions, opted for still cameras with small bodies yet large resolution, and suggested a 14mm wide-angle lens to capture Baumgartner's exit from the capsule, as well as a 64-gigabyte flash card that has a high rate of speed in addition to high capacity. "In my mind I've got a vision of an image showing the capsule in one-third of the frame, with Felix dropping away and the Earth below all visible. But there's a lot of luck involved," Pondella says. "It'll all come down to how the balloon and capsule happen to be positioned at that moment."
Some of the most dynamic images will be those captured from Baumgartner's point of view on his descent. Three small high-definition video cameras will capture three angles of his descent back to Earth. Baumgartner will activate these suit cameras himself, just before he jumps, and, like Baumgartner, they must be able to function in near-space conditions for up to 20 minutes, as well as at the extremes of supersonic speed. Furthermore, the cameras must provide useable shots regardless of Baumgartner's orientation: Baumgartner will wear small HD video cameras with opposing views -- one on each thigh -- plus a camera on his chest pack that will provide a view of his helmet visor.
Luke Aikins, the Aerial Strategist for the Red Bull Stratos team, has skydived with Baumgartner on numerous test jumps, filming the descents. "We're being careful to make sure that the suit cameras won't affect Felix's freefall," Aikins reports. "After the mission is over, the team will be able to study his footage and come up with ideas to help people in future endeavors -- we hope to see details like what went on with his body position, and even with the fabric, in a way that might be impossible for Felix to perceive."
"Ultimately, from the time we seal the capsule until I set foot on Earth again, I'm going to be alone," Baumgartner states. "But thanks to these camera systems, at least I'll have the reassurance that the mission team should be able to monitor what's going on visually as well as via radio, and in my mind I'll know that people all over the world are sharing the experience with me."
On the day of Baumgartner's jump, Red Bull Stratos, along with web partners, will provide a LIVE television broadcast and online stream of the activities and stories surrounding his ascent and descent. The final launch date, location and live stream details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space. Pilot Felix Baumgartner will ascend to the stratosphere in an attempt to launch a freefall jump that would see him become the first person to break the speed of sound with the human body. The data captured by this mission and its team of world-leading scientists promises new standards in aerospace safety, expanding the boundaries of human flight.
Since 1984, Las Vegas-based FlightLine Films has been providing television and motion-picture producers with the highest quality in aerospace cinematography services. The company has pioneered visual documentation systems for the private and commercial space programs advancing into the 21st century. FlightLine offers zero-gravity qualified crews and HD cameras for use in the cold vacuum of space, as well as housings that allow traditional motion picture cameras to operate in that hostile environment. FlightLine Films is designing and building the camera systems to document the Red Bull Stratos mission from multiple perspectives, including ground-based trackers, an airborne tracking system, in the capsule and on Baumgartner's pressure suit.
As the official global mobile partner, Nokia has developed the Red Bull Stratos application to monitor this groundbreaking project. Available exclusively through Ovi Store by Nokia, users can learn more about the mission's progress by reading articles and watching videos from the Red Bull Stratos team of experts. Nokia users can also follow the countdown, stream the final jump in real time and watch Felix Baumgartner's pulse race by monitoring his biometrical data before, during and after the jump. Once complete, the app will deliver unique content about the Red Bull Stratos mission direct to handset.
Microsoft is the global media technology partner for Red Bull Stratos. Microsoft's Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming technology bring an interactive live experience in High Definition to web viewers worldwide.
Riedel Communications -- renowned for its pioneering advanced fiber, intercom and radio technology -- provides the entire communications solution for this outstanding project, integrating both wireless and wired digital intercom systems. Additionally, Riedel furnishes the fiber-based video and signal distribution as well as the wireless video links to the capsule's onboard cameras -- enabling stunning pictures to be delivered from the Red Bull Stratos capsule.
An exclusive, all-access documentary about the Red Bull Stratos project is being produced by the BBC together with National Geographic. A few weeks after the jump in 2010, the feature-length film will premiere on BBC2 in the UK and National Geographic Channel in the US. It will be aired across the rest of the world soon after. The 90-minute documentary about Red Bull Stratos is being globally licensed and distributed to broadcasters by BBC Worldwide.
Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Inc. offers the best services of leading technical minds in research, advanced composite design, engineering and fabrication to find solutions for a full spectrum of aerospace needs. Sage Cheshire is designing, building and testing the Red Bull Stratos pressurized capsule. The company also coordinates other vital aspects of the mission, from creating computer fluid dynamics to selecting crews and interfacing with outside agencies.
Maddy Stephens, Red Bull Communications, 210.414.1904 firstname.lastname@example.org