RocketCam is an off-the-shelf industrial Sony model built into a highly specialized protective casing at a cost of roughly $750,000 (regular use should bring the price down to about $100,000). It is positioned near the top of the external fuel tank and aimed downward. The perspective promised first-ever onboard views of the solid rocket booster separation 2 minutes into the flight, as well as the orbiter detaching from the external tank 5 minutes later. The camera performed flawlessly from liftoff, but its positioning on the external tank, in the path of the propellants from small rockets that assist in the SRB separation, led to residue smudging and robbed viewers of as many as 15 more minutes of the ride to space. "That was the only thing that disappointed us," says Rex Ridenoure, CEO of Ecliptic Enterprises. "We knew it was going to happen, but NASA didn't think it would." He adds that he will encourage NASA to move the camera on future launches. It could be two years before we see this again, though. At press time, the camera wasn't even scheduled into future launch manifests. "We wanted to wait and see how the public responded to it," Navias says.