SpaceX Rocket Launch Looks Stunning From Drone’s-Eye View

By Carl Engelking | April 21, 2014 3:19 pm

We’re used to seeing rockets launch and disappear into the sky, but things are a little different at Elon Musk’s SpaceX facility in Texas. On Friday, the company launched its first test flight of a Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket, which reached over 800 feet in altitude and then made a controlled landing.

Later that same day, SpaceX capped that momentous achievement with a bird’s-eye video of the test flight, courtesy of a hexacopter drone. The drone provides an up-close look as the rocket rises to 820 feet, hovers for a few moments, then gracefully descends to a soft landing.

The controlled-descent F9R rocket tests are a crucial step toward bringing reusable rockets to the market, which could reduce the costs associated with space travel and is a major goal for SpaceX. Testing will continue in New Mexico where engineers will send the rocket to higher altitudes and test an unpowered guidance mechanism, the Washington Post reports.

SpaceX also celebrated launching its third cargo mission on Friday, which successfully arrived with 4,000 pounds of supplies at the ISS at roughly 7:15 a.m. EDT on Sunday.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration
  • MrReally

    Wow, just like all the rockets used to land in the 50′s Sci-fi movies! LOL

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Not
    A
    Space
    AAgency.

    U-2, SR-71, and the F-117 “Hopeless Diamond” were impossible, so what? The Saturn V was an astounding success, so what? No gain issues from funding cultures of failure. Lockheed Skunk Works succeeded because its engineers had their butts screwed in hard by the production area, as it is at Space-X. NASA fails because its bureaucrats do the screwing.

    • Blade Avuari

      The NASA problem isn’t because they aren’t doing space stuff, it’s because they have been budget-lopped all over the place due to the presence of commercial space science, as well as the lesser importance of space innovation to the US government.
      (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

      • http://kitsunequills.com Plato Kasserman

        The problem with NASA is that the government gets to decide which projects get funded. The innovative scientists don’t get to do the choosing.

      • YagZaid

        Yes and No. NASA (Not A Space Agency) is indeed budget-lopped, but whatever low budget it has is used for non-space objectives that only keep us grounded to the Earth.

  • ianken

    First cargo mission? I think it was the third. And they landed the first stage at sea using the legs shown in the test flight.

    • Guest

      never underestimate journalists’ inability to fact check

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Carl Engelking

      ianken, you are correct. Thank you for spotting that. The story has been updated.

  • John Wyscaver

    I think that’s awesome to see that. the tech we now & put it to good use when doing stuff like this & watch in real time how the rockets are firing, the pitch of the rocket, the way it’s all working as its moving & get up close clear pics without any static or interference.

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