This is just way cool. Last week as Space X sent supplies to the International Space Station (which, by the way, I will never look at the same after seeing the movie "Gravity"). But, while the space world's attention was focused on that private company launch and delivery something else was happening elsewhere.
First, the footage is from a drone and it offers a view that is spectacular. Second, what this rocket accomplished is pretty sporty. Watch, pilgrims...this is a sweet clip.
This is from Space X: "Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking its first test flight at our rocket development facility. F9R lifts off from a launch mount to a height of approximately 250m, hovers and then returns for landing just next to the launch stand. Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position. However, we will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.
The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year (Grasshopper can be seen in the background of this video). Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like."