SpaceX, the private aerospace company run by can’t-prove-he’s-not-Iron-Man Elon Musk, is doing an astoundingly good job of creating an inspiring, paradigm-shattering future before our very eyes. They’ve now landed the first stages of their two-stage-to-orbit Falcon 9 rockets four times after use. The latest landing — stuck for the third time in a row on one of their autonomous spaceport drone ships (or ASDS’s) — was captured from an on-board camera that gives a glimpse of what it’s like to take a rocket ride from space back down to Earth.
Although we’ve seen these Falcon 9 rocket landings in live webcasts or even with 360-degree video before, this on-board look from SpaceX is — trying really hard not to use the out-of-this-world pun — astronomically cool.
The sped-up video shows the first stage of the Falcon 9, which was delivering a satellite into orbit, as it descends from space, eventually landing on the ASDS entitled Of Course I Still Love You (which is a reference to the Iain Banks’ novel The Player of Games). The landing, according to Musk, was a “very hot and fast first-stage reentry,” and the mission’s press release said that a successful landing was expected to be “challenging.”
Weather 90% go for 5:40pm ET launch today. Droneship landing challenging — very hot and fast first-stage reentry pic.twitter.com/IU66G2SntU
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 26, 2016
No “rapid unscheduled disassemblies” happened this time however, as the first stage, which is about 135 feet tall, touched down gracefully on its deployable landing legs.
As for other insanely cool space-related achievements that we should be watching for from SpaceX, we have Musk hopefully laying out his mission plan for a Mars colony in September, and a likely Falcon Heavy launch in December. The Falcon Heavy will consist of a standard Falcon 9 with two added Falcon 9 first stages and Musk wants to land all three of them after use. Hopefully soon after that, we’ll be watching these landings from cameras inside Dragon capsules, with people cheering successful landings from both mission control and out in space.
What do you think about this rocket’s-eye view of SpaceX’s latest Falcon 9 first stage landing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!