SpaceX had another successful launch. They sent up a satellite from Vandenberg AFB in Santa Maria, CA. This time they also tested the first stage recovery landing equipment. They did not plan to actually recover it on this first test, they were just going to control the landing into the ocean. The launch was successful in getting the satellite in orbit but the recovery test was also successful. They got a lot of information and did control the fall of the first stage to the ocean. They don’t plan to put the full recovery system into any of the next few launches, but they think they will try a complete recovery sometime in 2014. Buck Rogers stuff with the stage coming down and landing back at the pad where the rocket first took off. Reusable first stage means much lower launch cost and more contracts for SpaceX. Really cool stuff!
You can see the first stage falling and the jets pulsing to slow the rate of fall and keep it under control all toward the end of the video. I plan to go over and watch a launch when they launch the heavy rocket for the first time early next year. It will be the first rocket that it nearly the power of the Saturn V since the early 1970’s. SpaceX is taking us back to space.