Today, SpaceX pulled off an incredible launch from hallowed launch pad 39A and I was there to photograph it. Here’s a badass behind-the-scenes photo story.

Liftoff. Falcon 9 gives roars to life at pad 39A for the first time since the final Shuttle launch, STS-135 in 2011.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

And a beautiful liftoff it was, albeit cloudy from LC-39A.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Vertical photo showing Falcon 9 launching past the Apollo/Shuttle-era FSS (fixed service structure) and Lightning tower.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

More ice.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Wide shot from the roof of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Purposely underexposed photo showing color detail bands as the exhaust exits the engine bells.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

More fire.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Falcon’s nearly 300ft long tail of flames in front of the Shuttle-era FSS lightning tower.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Telephoto view of Falcon 9 clearing the tower at LC-39A.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Once stage 2 and Dragon were successfully separated, stage 1 flipped and came back to land. Here is a photo I took of it just before touchdown at LZ-1 (fmr. LC-13)

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

This has been the most exciting photo story, for me, to date this year. I look forward to the next opportunity I have to be back here at the Cape photographing rockets – until then I will come up with more ideas to explore the next time I am here.

See you tomorrow for another photo story!

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