Check out this amazing footage of a SpaceX rocket coming home

SpaceX recently released some amazing footage (below) showing one of its Falcon 9 boosters returning to Earth shortly after launch.

SpaceX has been performing autonomous landings of its first-stage Falcon 9 booster since 2015, but video showing their return usually comes from fixed cameras placed on the rocket and close to the landing site.

But in this rare footage, a camera tracks the vehicle during its final 40 seconds of descent, when the booster’s landing legs deploy just seconds before it touches down for a perfectly upright landing.

Minutes earlier, the first-stage booster had propelled the all-private Ax-2 crew toward the International Space Station after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The flight took place on May 21, but SpaceX only released the tracking video of the rocket’s return a few days ago.

SpaceX designed its spaceflight system with reusability in mind. Landing it safely back on Earth allows the company’s engineers to refurbish the booster for future flights, a system that has helped it lower the cost of missions while enabling greater frequency of flights.

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SpaceX also reuses the Dragon and Crew Dragon spacecraft used for trips to and from the space station. Also cleaned up for further flights is the fairing at the top of the rocket that protects satellites before deployment.

While most of SpaceX’s rocket landings are now performed flawlessly, there is still the occasional mishap. Its last failed landing, for example, was in early 2021, when an engine problem prevented the booster from reaching the landing site of a drone ship waiting in the ocean off the coast of Florida.

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