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Watch SpaceX's reusable rocket hover at 3,280 feet before gently landing back to Earth

Between winning an injunction against a rival and proving that its reusable rocket works, it's been a pretty good week for SpaceX. As a victory lap, the company has once-again test fired its Falcon9R rocket, and unlike last time, filmed it from the ground so everyone can see its progress. In the clip (below), the craft launches, hovers at 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and gently coasts back to the ground for a safe landing. With this early hardware, the landing legs remain out at all times, but… ( More...

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Chris Goode 5
That is absolutely incredible. It actually is so smooth it looks fake. The power that is contained and controlled is unimaginable.
BaronG58 6
The cows hauled-ass!
Ronald Kappes 3
That was the most beautiful performance I have ever seen.
Matt Lacey 2
They already did in the launch on 4/18 where the second stage and Dragon continued on to the Space Station. Nice controlled descent. Only problem was the seas were 15-20 feet and the stage broke up after splashdown.
Jim Landon 2
I'm amazed that the legs and bottom end (Nozzle?) survived such ferocious heat during hover and descent! ... Try lighting a candle and then turning it flame end down.
Matt Lacey 3
It would help the candle if its flame were supersonic. Rocket and jet nozzles are usually sized for maximum exhaust speed.
jab46 1
I think the legs have an ablative material coating.
Torsten Hoff 2
I hope they can pull off the same trick when the rocket is up in a much thinner atmosphere, possibly supersonic and tumbling. It might need a drogue to help stabilize the falling rocket and take some of the load off the engine.
Kawaiipoint2 1
It can. Tests confirmed this on the last Falcon 9 flight that went to the International Space Station. That was just a few weeks ago. It doesn't need a drogue either. The Merlin 1D engine is more than capable.
Chris Temple 1
That was the coolest thing that I have seen it was so smooth that it looks fake.l would have liked to have seen a person near it to get a idea for the size of the rocket
Very Cool!!
ADXbear 1
NASA and our space money is paying for this, so how does a payload work with this?
Matt Lacey 1
This is not for a payload, per se. It's to develop experience in landing first stages for when, in an operational launch, there is a second stage and payload stacked on top that continues its ascent to orbit.

I disagree that NASA and taxpayer dollars are paying for it. When Coca Cola buys a big lit-up bottle past the outfield of a major league stadium, is it your money being spent? It's the same principle. NASA, DoD and other SpaceX customers have paid SpaceX to launch payloads on its rockets. Once that launch service has completed, it's SpaceX's money to spend as it sees fit, including engineer and technician labor and RP and LOX to fly hops like this one.
BaronG58 1
SpaceX is a public funded company. SpaceX has a contract with Nasa to design and build a capsule to transport human cargo to Space Station. This makes NASA a customer.
jab46 1
I think the legs have a coating of an ablative material.
Shades of Willy Ley.
David Kaplan 1
Back in 1993, Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad controlled some of the flights of the DC-X, which did the exact same thing AND translated horizontally. We got invited to a launch... check out the video, remembering that it's 1993 quality!
Tim Laursen 1
This MUSK guy is the best.

Great performance.
Buck Rogers here we come.
Glen Towler 1
A just amazing video space x really is the future of space travel doing stuff that NASA just can't and for so much less money too
Kent Thompson 0
Why can't NASA do what this guy does?
Ask the mail man how it is that FedEx makes a profit...
BaronG58 4
Because NASA answers to Washington. These guys answer to themselves. GO free enterprise!!!!
ken young 1
If we are to advance our technology more rapidly, government needs to be excluded. Government means bureaucracy which slows the process to a crawl. Government adds unnecessary costs. And government goes out of its way to screw things up
John Rogers 0
Is that a full scale rocket?
Torsten Hoff 4
Yup -- 180 feet in height.
Terry Bourke 0
These units will be used in many areas to help with industry of all kinds
tony buford 0
Common now, I saw this in an Episode of Thunderbirds Go!

Please will SOMEONE buy me a Tesla.

Go Elon!
Kent Thompson -3
Looks like an accident waiting to happen.
You could say that about any airplane you ever see. Or car for that matter.
ken young 2
Good God yes...An accident may occur. Let's not take any risks!


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