SpaceX releases video of Falcon 9 first stage water “landing”

Falcon 9 first stage landing

Enhanced frame from a video released by SpaceX on August 14 showing the first stage of a Falcon 9 launched in mid-July just before touching the ocean surface, the most recent test by SpaceX to make the first stage of the Falcon 9 reusable. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX released late Thursday a new video of the “landing” attempt of the Falcon 9 first stage after last month’s ORBCOMM launch. The video, taken from a chase plane, shows the first stage descending as it goes through “supersonic transition,” according to the video, then cuts to the relight of the first stage engines just above the ocean surface. Unfortunately, the stage slips from view just as the stage touches down on the ocean. “Plane camera with extra long lens loses sight of rocket just before splashdown,” the video explains.

While the video was posted to YouTube on Thursday, it’s not the first time the video has been shown in public. In his keynote address at the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites on August 4 at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, Steve Jurvetson of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson—an investor in SpaceX—showed the same footage. “This has never been seen outside of SpaceX,” he told an audience of more than 1,000 before showing the video. “They said they’re going to do better tracking next time,” he said of SpaceX as the first stage slipped from view as it touched down. “They’re going to nail it.”

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