A video published on the SpaceX YouTube page gives a unique onboard view of the launch and recovery of a Falcon 9 booster. The footage is from the SAOCOM 1B mission launched in August.
The flight-proven Falcon 9 was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 23:18 UTC on August 30 carrying the SAOCOM 1B satellite and two smaller payloads. After a textbook launch, the first stage booster separated successfully and began its journey back to the launch pad.
Just over eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 booster touched down at Cape Canaveral’s Landing Zone 1 ground pad meters from the launch pad it had taken off from.
The newly released onboard footage takes the viewer from liftoff through to the rocket’s initial ascent. There is then a short, almost indistinguishable, fade cut. At least six minutes of the mission is cut with the action returning during the booster’s descent phase.
The booster, which had previously been used to support three previous missions, then deploys its control surfaces which can be seen working against aerodynamic forces to orientate the vehicle for touchdown. Cape Canaveral soon comes into view and the booster touches down with pinpoint precision.
One of the most unique elements of the footage is the inclusion of the sound recorded during the mission. The unmistakable sound of the landing legs being deployed moments before touchdown is particularly satisfying.