Soon after SpaceX nailed another booster landing on Sunday, August 30, the commercial spaceflight company posted a video offering the best view we’ve seen in a while of the extraordinary feat.
The aerial footage shows the booster as it descends steadily toward the landing site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, minutes after carrying several satellites to orbit as part of another successful mission.
Recent landings have taken place on a drone ship at sea, resulting in shaky and sometimes unclear footage delivered via a camera on board the vessel. But the unusual trajectory of this latest mission meant the booster would come down on land for the first time since March 2020, giving SpaceX an opportunity to get a camera in the sky for a stunning view of the event.
Falcon 9 first stage lands at Landing Zone 1 to complete this booster’s fourth flight pic.twitter.com/tUtAcKmIFn
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 31, 2020
The spectacle of a booster coming in to land — with all that firepower belching from its bottom — never fails to impress. Don’t forget, the idea of landing a 15-story-tall contraption upright on terra firma after a trip to space once sounded somewhat absurd.
However, for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his team to achieve their dream of creating a reusable space transportation system aimed at drastically cutting the cost of space travel, landing it upright seemed like the best way to recover the first-stage booster.
After it started testing its landing technology in 2015, SpaceX suffered a number of mishaps where the the booster toppled over and exploded in a fireball following an unstable touchdown. But, after much time and effort, the team has now managed to pretty much perfect the process.
SpaceX has also been developing a way to recover the rocket fairing, or nose cone, when it falls to Earth in two parts at the end of a satellite deployment mission. The process involves catching each of the fairing parts in a giant net attached to a ship. Again, it’s proving to be a tricky maneuver, but in recent months the company has had more success with the procedure, preventing the parts from landing in the water where they could sustain damage. Check out the video below, posted by Musk, showing a recent catch.
Aloha, welcome back from space ???? pic.twitter.com/xWPN09Wtaw
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2020
- How to watch SpaceX launch its 16th Starlink mission on Tuesday
- SpaceX makes its 100th successful launch with a Starlink mission
- Watch the highlights from SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch
- Rocket Lab to attempt its first booster recovery next week
- Watch the highlights from SpaceX’s Sentinel-6 satellite launch