SpaceX has released numerous new videos of Falcon 9 and Heavy boosters landing over the last several years, arguably highlighted by multiple 4K videos of Falcon Heavy’s iconic twin booster landings.
Likely triggered by a Twitter user asking SpaceX CEO Elon Musk if he could publish a specific years-old video of a near-miss Falcon 9 booster landing, the bevy of videos SpaceX has since uploaded to YouTube are a welcome burst of transparency. The company already offers some uniquely-detailed live coverage of all orbital (and even some suborbital) launches all the way from liftoff through booster landing(s) and satellite deployment, but the release of high-quality landing videos taken with GoPro cameras and drones is a welcome development.
Revealed on the four-year anniversary of Falcon 9’s first successful drone ship landing, SpaceX’s playlist of rocket recoveries also comes shortly after the three-year anniversary of the first successful orbital-class booster reuse (March 30th, 2017) and shortly before the one-year anniversary of Falcon Heavy’s commercial launch debut (April 11th, 2019). SpaceX’s YouTube playlists includes a spectacular view of the latter booster landings, taken from a drone hovering about a mile away from its Cape Canaveral rocket Landing Zones (LZ-1/LZ-2).
SpaceX also published two stunning 4K views of Falcon Heavy’s inaugural landing, successfully completed in February 2018 and kicking off what looks likely to be a long series of iconic dual booster landings over the next several years.
Less than two and a half months after Falcon Heavy’s April 2019 commercial launch debut, the rocket – featuring the same rapidly-reused side boosters – flew for the third time, supporting its first US military mission in June 2019. The mission also marked the first time SpaceX successfully caught a Falcon payload fairing half after an operational launch, while the payload fairing launched on Falcon Heavy’s April 2019 mission was the first to be reused on a Starlink launch in November 2019.
Now almost ten months since Falcon Heavy’s last launch, the massive rocket has its fourth mission – also the rocket’s first operational launch for the US military – scheduled no earlier than (NET) Q4 2020, possibly less than five months away. Meanwhile, Falcon Heavy won its first NASA launch contract barely a month ago and subsequently won a second NASA contract – this time to launch SpaceX’s own “Dragon XL” spacecraft to a Moon-orbiting space station – just last month. In other words, the rocket’s future is looking exceptionally bright and many, many more landing videos are likely in the cards over the next 5-10 years.