Watch SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Drop Out of Space and Make a Perfect Landing

Monday, 01 May 2017 - 3:11PM
Space
SpaceX
Monday, 01 May 2017 - 3:11PM
Watch SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Drop Out of Space and Make a Perfect Landing
Image credit: SpaceX, SciNews
Today, SpaceX launched its first spy satellite into orbit, NROL-76, using the Falcon 9 rocket. How secret can a spy satellite be when it makes the news on every major science website? We'll let you figure that one out. What we do know is that the entire flight, from launch to re-entry, was filmed, except for a short period where the actual spy satellite detached from the rocket—that's a secret. 

But in our opinion, the most impressive part of the whole mission is the landing. Falcon 9's have had trouble landing in the past, considering they're falling out of the atmosphere at hundreds of miles an hour, but that makes watching a successful one even more surreal. Check out the video below—the Falcon starts descending around 1:14.



At 1:22, when the engines flare up and the entire rocket is enveloped in flames, our immediate thought was "Yep, that's what something looks like when it burns up in the atmosphere." But despite the impressive fireworks display, the rocket survives all that heat and speed and just keeps dropping. Another thought occurs at that point: how is a tube in free-fall supposed to stay upright? But it all works. In fact, the Falcon 9 lands flawlessly on its pad after a few minutes.

It's these sorts of displays that make you realize how insane it is that we've landed humans on the Moon and brought them back. The amount of calculations (and things that can go wrong) is staggering, but nothing compares to seeing aeronautics in action.
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