More Amazing Rocket Footage Shot From Multirotor

Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking its first test flight at our rocket development facility. F9R lifts off from a launch mount to a height of approximately 250m, hovers and then returns for landing just next to the launch stand. Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position. However, we will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing. 

The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year (Grasshopper can be seen in the background of this video). Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.

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  • Moderator

    Are the landing leg supports supposed to catch alight?

  • Wow That is some cool stuff right there!

  • If the makers of the early V2 prototypes were given to see that ... And also I think (hope) that it is a good point that a private company is doing this kind of amazing work.

  • Jani - fins?  You mean the landing legs? CF and Al honeycomb.  They deploy out from the side of the 1st stage after it's launched.  In this test, obviously, they're pre-deployed.

  • Robert - this isn't a launch pad. It's just a testing landing pad for tests of this nature.  They have launch facilities at CCAFS at KSC ( one pad in use, one ex-Shuttle pad just leased for 20 years ), VAFB, Kwajalein Atoll, and there is talk of a new Texas launch facility as well.

  • Developer

    That is just awesome... It's amazing how accurately you can control that type of vehicle even without any "speed". I wonder what material those fins are?? As they will get nice burning flames at landing.

  • I work on spacecraft propulsion for my day job... so seeing a video like this is the best of the best. I really hope SpaceX changes the industry.

  • Just amazing! There is plenty of old footage of rockets going backwards towards earth. Used to not be a good thing.

    Now. I have nothing but the most respect for Elon and SpaceX. But isn't that a bit of a hokey launch site? a gravel pit?  I think blast pads would be good. Maybe moving the trailers and fuel tanks a bit further away from the launch would be a good idea?

  • Suspect there was no truth to the story that the head of DJI was been taking these & giving the footage to Russian spies.

  • Developer

    Yeah, really fantastic.  I'm pretty sure you can actually see the rocket leaning back and forth a bit during the video as it does it's position control.  Pretty amazing.

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