Hitch a ride on SpaceX's rocket as it returns to Earth (plus spectacular new photos)
SpaceX's landing of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship last Friday was the third time the company has pulled off such a feat. But this time the company has provided a different perspective, with an onboard camera capturing the rocket slicing through the atmosphere and coming down to rest on a sea barge in the Atlantic Ocean.
The reusable rocket rivalry between Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX might be focused on not just engineering exploits, but possibly cinematography credentials, too. Earlier this month Blue Origin released video shot from a camera onboard its New Shepard rocket as it made a powered landing, and now SpaceX has followed suit.
In the video we see the Falcon 9 first-stage rocket's vanes fold out to serve as steering foils, which combine with a series of controlled burns to guide the rocket down to safety. The video is sped up and therefore over pretty quickly, but it does give a good sense of the low margin for error that goes with trying to land a rocket on a barge ship bobbing about in the middle of the ocean.
SpaceX considers the landing experimental, and says that this one was particularly tricky as the mission involved bringing the rocket back at a higher velocity and without as much spare fuel for braking.
SpaceX has also released a set of crisp photos of this latest mission, which saw the Falcon 9 booster deliver a telecommunications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
You can watch the video below.