Looks like Space X is getting closer to reaching… space. Elon Musk‘s company, SpaceX, has released this 360-degree aerial video footage of the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking off, and making a controlled landing. A camera equipped drone followed the rocket launch from every angle giving us an amazing perspective of the history making event.
In the video, you can clearly see the F9R lift off from a launch mount to a height of approximately 250m, hover and then return for landing just next to the launch stand. Early flights of F9R will take off with the legs in a fixed down position. However, SpaceX will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.
The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of SPaceX’s Grasshopper program last year (Grasshopper can be seen in the background of this video). Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow Space X to test at higher altitudes than they are permitted for at their test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.
What do you think about SpaceX? Does America even need NASA anymore? Please leave a comment below.
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Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.