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Here’s The Truth Behind Viral Videos Shared To Show Launch Of Chandrayaan 3

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Videos showing the launch of Chandrayaan 3 recorded by passengers onboard the plane. 

Fact
Old videos of rocket launches in US’ Florida falsely linked to the liftoff of Chandrayaan 3. 

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s ambitious moon mission, Chandrayaan 3 was launched successfully from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14. Following its launch, multiple social media users shared videos claiming to show glimpses of lift off of Chandrayaan 3 captured by a person onboard a plane. Newschecker investigated two such videos, and found them to be unrelated to the recent launch of Chandrayaan 3.

Video 1

A one-minute-fifteen-second-long-video of a rocket launch recorded by a passenger onboard a plane is being widely shared on social media platforms. Those sharing the video claimed that it shows the launch of Chandrayaan 3 captured by a passenger on an Indigo flight that was flying from Chennai to Dhaka. Newscehcker found the claim to be untrue. The video dates back to at least December 2022, and shows a rocket launch in the US.

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Newschecker also received the video on our WhatsApp tipline (+91-9999499044) multiple times, requesting to be fact checked.

Also Read: Video From France Shared As Church Set Ablaze In Manipur Amid Ongoing Conflict

Fact Check/Verification

A Google lens search on the keyframes of the viral footage led us to a YouTube video by Pure Truth, dated December 17, 2022. It carried the same clip to show “SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch view from aeroplane.” 

Launch Of Chandrayaan 3 ?
Screengrab from YouTube video by Pure Truth

Additionally, on scanning through the comment sections of the posts carrying the viral footage, we spotted a user pointing out that it shows a “rocket launched from launchpad 39A in America….”

Screengrab from Twitter

Taking a clue, we looked up “SpaceX Falcon 9”, “Launch,” and “passenger plane” on Google which yielded a Facebook post by News18, dated December 17, 2022, carrying a clipped version of the viral footage. It stated, “A plane passenger managed to capture sky shot of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch. Video mesmerizes netizens! (sic)”

Further, we also found a report by The Independent, dated 16, 2022, carrying a screengrab from the viral video. It stated, “Passengers on a plane flying past Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday unwittingly got a front row seat to the launch of a SpaceX rocket.”  Adding, “It is unclear which date the rocket launch was spotted on…”

We also found a TikTok post, dated December 15, 2022, carrying the viral footage stating, “My plane flew over Cape Canaveral and caught SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. (sic)”

Screengrab from TikTok

Following this, we looked up “Launchpad 39A,  Cape Canaveral” on Google Earth View, and were able to geo-locate the exact site of the rocket launch. 

(L-R) Screengrab from Google Earth View and screengrab from viral video

The video actually shows a rocket launch from the US’ Kennedy Space Centre, located on Merritt Island, in Florida, north of Cape Canaveral.

Video 2

Multiple social media users shared over a minute-long-video of a rocket launch, claiming to show a “beautiful view of Chandrayaan 3.” Newchecker found that the video dates back to 2021, and shows a rocket lift off from US’ Florida.

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Also Read: Old Video Of Crocodile On Flooded Road From Vadodara Shared As Delhi

Fact Check/Verification

A Google lens search on the keyframes of the video led us to a Facebook post by Skynews Astronomy, dated May 20, 2021. It carried the footage, with the caption, “Passenger on a commercial flight with a privileged view of the exact moment when the Rocket Atlas V takes off towards Earth orbit, from the Kennedy Space Center.”

Screengrab from Facebook post by Skynews Astronomy

We also found a report by Weather, dated June 10, 2021, Carrying snippets of the viral video. The report stated, “A passenger was flying over Cape Canaveral, Florida, and captured an incredible scene.” 

Screengrab from Weather website

The video was also featured in a report by Space.com, dated June 16, 2021, titled “Wow! This video of an Atlas V rocket launch seen from an airplane is just amazing” 

After carefully analysing the video, we could conclude that it also shows a rocket launch from the US’ Kennedy space centre – the same location as seen in the first footage debunked in this fact check. 

Also Read: Old Video From Brazil Shared As Indian Soldier Pinning Down A Terrorist In Srinagar

Conclusion

Hence, old videos of rocket launches in the US have been falsely shared claiming to show the lift-off of Chandrayaan 3 captured by aircraft passengers.

Result: False

Sources
YouTube Video By Pure Truth, Dated December 17, 2022
Facebook Post By News18, Dated December 17, 2022
TikTok Post, Dated December 15, 2022
Facebook Post By Skynews Astronomy, Dated May 20, 2021
Report By Weather, Dated June 10, 2021
Google Earth View


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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