The Sciences

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

D-briefBy Carl EngelkingApr 21, 2014 7:19 PM

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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.

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