In its first test flight, a SpaceX reusable rocket took off, rose about 820 feet in the air, and made a controlled landing at the company's rocket development compound in Texas.
The company captured footage of the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket test using a camera mounted on a drone. The birds-eye view starts with a sweeping view of the facility, then cuts to a direct over-head view of the rocket as it launches. As it ascends and then hovers, the camera is eye-level with the rocket. As it carefully descends back to the launch pad, the flame again flares up, before disappearing in a massive cloud of smoke.
These controlled-descent tests are the next step in bringing reusable rockets to market, a goal SpaceX sees as a way to bring down the cost of future space travel. Company founder Elon Musk was so excited to release the footage that he Tweeted about it Friday in the midst of coverage of another SpaceX launch, this one in Florida, of a cargo ship headed for the International Space Station.