SpaceX has shared an awesome video (below) showing one of its Falcon 9 rockets launching and then landing — all in a single clip shot by the same camera.
The camera was located miles from land on a SpaceX droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The droneships are used as a landing spot for the first-stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, which return to Earth shortly after launch once they’ve sent the second stage and payload to space. Landing boosters in this way allows SpaceX to use them again in future missions, enabling it to reduce the cost of getting payloads to orbit.
SpaceX’s sped-up clip, shot on Saturday night from the deck of the company’s A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, shows the 70-meter-tall (230 feet) Falcon 9 rocket lifting off in the far distance from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The rocket was carrying two telecommunications satellites for multinational satellite services provider Intelsat.
View from the droneship of Falcon 9’s launch and landing pic.twitter.com/5yYvT9bNcL
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 12, 2022
The rocket can be seen heading to space before leaving the top of the frame. A short while later, the picture lights up as the rocket’s thrusters fire up to slow the booster’s descent just ahead of touchdown on the droneship.
The remarkable footage highlights again the impressive system that SpaceX has tried, tested, and pretty much perfected for launching and then safely landing — upright — a first-stage Falcon 9 booster.
It’s the first time the launch and landing has been captured in a single clip, and suggests the human equivalent of someone throwing a dart and then hitting the bullseye from a mile away. And then achieving that with every subsequent throw.
SpaceX’s system of course involves a whole lot of intricately designed technology. In the early years of its development, the company suffered plenty of mishaps, with the rocket often reaching the targeted landing spot but then toppling over and bursting into flames seconds later. But each failure gave engineers lots of data to work with, leading to the first successful landing of its Falcon 9 booster in December 2015.
Since then SpaceX has achieved more than 140 perfect landings of its first-stage Falcon 9 booster, paving the way for more than 120 re-flights.
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