Press Release

RocketCam Systems on First Delta IV Launch to Deliver Out-of-This-World Imagery for Television and Internet Viewers

By SpaceRef Editor
November 12, 2002
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Ecliptic’s RocketCam Systems Based on Sony’s Digital Video Cameras Offer Unique Perspectives From Rockets As They Pull Away From Earth

When the new Boeing Delta IV rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on
November 16th, a set of four specially built cameras attached to its outside
and inside structures will offer dramatic footage as it climbs through the
outer limits of the atmosphere and into space.

The RocketCam(TM) camera, Ecliptic Enterprises’ flagship product that
incorporates a Sony video camera, will make television and Internet viewers
feel as if they are on the rocket itself, watching as it pulls away from
Earth. The rocket’s perspective of the Earth shrinking below is in stark
contrast to the other common techniques for following launches in which
ground-based cameras track rockets as they take off and ascend toward space.

On its inaugural launch, the Delta IV Medium 4,2 rocket will carry a
telecommunications satellite for Eutelsat S.A. of France into orbit. The
launch broadcast will begin at 5:10 p.m. EST, with the launch window opening
just before sunset, and may be viewed on-line at

The expected launch of the Delta IV rocket will follow nearly two dozen
other launches featuring RocketCam systems, each of which used a Sony XC-999
miniature color video camera to generate live, full-color video from onboard
the rocket. The RocketCam images are transmitted to receiving equipment on the
ground for subsequent distribution to launch control centers, technical and
management audiences, media outlets, and the public.

Ecliptic is currently engineering an enhanced RocketCam product line based
on Sony’s recently introduced XC-555 miniature video camera, which includes a
more sensitive CCD chip, improved iris functions, more highly integrated
internal electronics and expanded external interfacing features-all in a
smaller and lighter package.

“Our video cameras are designed to withstand an array extreme environments
with terrific success,” said Jim Sandy, vice president of visual imaging
products sales and marketing at Sony Electronics’ Business Solutions and
Systems Company. “Sony video cameras help to enable the RocketCam out-of-this-
world system solution.”

“Beyond our core customer base of the larger launch systems, RocketCam
systems are attached to spacecraft, sub-orbital and test rockets, conventional
and rocket-powered aircraft, helicopters, high-altitude balloons, and
specialized testing facilities,” said Rex Ridenoure, Ecliptic’s CEO. “Our
RocketCam family of imaging systems addresses many needs in our marketplace,
and its 100 percent success record in the field brings credibility-always
important in the aerospace business.”

To date, RocketCams have been used with success on Boeing Delta II and
Delta III rockets, as well as Atlas 2, Atlas 3, Atlas 5 and Titan IV rockets
built by Lockheed Martin. Last month, RocketCam successfully debuted on NASA’s
Space Shuttle, delivering dramatic real-time images to a worldwide audience as
the orbiter Atlantis lifted off for a rendezvous with the International Space

“The camera serves a dual purpose for NASA. It’s primary objective is to
provide video of certain launch events from a perspective that our engineers
are otherwise not be able to see,” said NASA spokesman George Diller at the
Kennedy Space Center. “The great bonus is that the high quality of the video
means it has numerous public affairs applications as well as historical
documentation value.”

With an extended history of RocketCam cameras on its Delta II and Delta
III launch systems and now Delta IV, The Boeing Company is a major RocketCam

“We learn something new about our launch systems every time we use the
RocketCam camera, and the video allows the general public access to images
that they would otherwise never see,” said Dan Marin, director of commercial
programs for Boeing’s Delta program. “We and our spacecraft customers rely on
this video to show us what’s happening during our launches, and it’s become a
valued element of our launch campaign.”

According to Ridenoure, the RocketCam line currently incorporates Sony XC-
999 and XC-555 miniature color video cameras as its principal sensors.
Ecliptic’s technical staff disassembles, rebuilds, prepares and tests each
camera according to demanding standards common in the aerospace industry.
These value-added processes enable each camera to operate in extreme
vibration, temperature, vacuum and lighting environments, returning
uninterrupted high-quality color video that is used for a variety of purposes.
Ecliptic typically packages the ultra-rugged video cameras into a solution
involving power, telemetry and video data-management functions.

During the past year, Ecliptic has successfully expanded application of
its RocketCam product line beyond rockets to airborne, ocean and test support
systems, Ridenoure added.

SpaceRef staff editor.