Photographing rocket launches involves some pretty fine margins – too far away and you'll miss out on some spectacular snaps, too close and you might just get burned. NASA photographer Bill Ingalls has experienced this firsthand, losing a valuable piece of kit during the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday.

By virtue of being stationed in locations that aren't safe for humans, remote cameras regularly capture incredible images of rocket launches. What's surprising about this particular mishap is that the deceased camera wasn't even the closest of Ingall's to the pad.

"I had many other cameras much closer to the pad than this and all are safe," he wrote on Facebook. "This was result of a small brush fire, which is not unheard of from launches, and was extinguished by fireman, albeit, after my cam was baked."

Ingalls did manage to retrieve the memory card from his destroyed Canon 5D (worth US$3,500 for the body only in case you were wondering), which kept snapping up until its fiery demise.

Tuesday's launch saw a set of five communications satellites lifted into space, along with the GRACE Follow-On spacecraft. That mission is a joint effort by NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences to track the redistribution of mass throughout the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets.

You can check out all of Ingall's snaps from the launch in the gallery.

View gallery - 16 images