Want to see what it’s like for a SpaceX rocket returning to Earth from orbit? Of course you do.
SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 reusable rocket at sea for the fourth time on Friday, and it’s released a uniquely stunning video of the event.
The video shows the view of the Falcon 9 rocket has it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and pulls up just short of the remote sea platform drone before landing neatly (with a little speeding up for brevity’s sake). It’s quite a watch.
What’s extra-special about all of SpaceX’s rocket landings (not all of which have been successful) is that they’re not mere test flights. They’re invariably the final stage of genuine commercial unmanned space flight missions, typically to place some kind of satellite into orbit.
Related: What is SpaceX?
On this occasion the Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered THAICOM 8, a commercial communications satellite from one of Asia’s biggest satellite satellite operators, to a Super Synchronous Transfer Orbit.
This is the third time in a row SpaceX has managed to secure a sea landing after a couple of notable failures. Back at the beginning of May, the company secured one such landing that even CEO Elon Musk didn’t expect to go right.
The entire purpose of SpaceX is to make space flight as efficient and sustainably affordable as possible, and the main way to do this is by landing and reusing rockets. Landing at sea may be a lot trickier than on land, but it’s essential for fuel-intensive missions where you don’t have the luxury of picking your spot.