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SpaceX shared a rare video of the Falcon 9 launch earlier today, which shows a view from the rocket in flight as part of the company’s first launch in 2023. SpaceX launched the Transporter 6 mission earlier this week, which saw the company deliver 114 payloads. to altitudes similar to those at which Starlink satellites also operate. The launch was the latest in a series of longer-duration missions that have seen the Falcon 9 second stage fly longer than the Starlink launch.
SpaceX shares on-board camera footage from the latest Falcon 9 launch
While SpaceX regularly broadcasts its launch live, the camera views provided are limited to a view of the rocket from the ground, an interior view of the second stage engine and the top of the first stage and some of the cameras installed on the second stage. As part of its launch profile, the Falcon 9 flies for about three minutes most of the time before its nine first-stage engines stop firing and the stage separates from the second stage. At this point, a view from inside the rocket is shared, with the stream going to the second stage or providing a view from a camera on the outside of the first stage.
Today’s footage shows the Falcon 9’s flight from takeoff to landing through the onboard camera, marking a rare moment when the rocket’s post-separation maneuvers are visible from the angle a viewer would find themselves at if they were flying it from the outside. Typically, a rocket separates while traveling several times faster than the speed of sound, and recent launches have also focused on separating the stage from the ground camera. This shows the first and second stages racing independently away from each other, in a unique sight for a rocket since the Falcon 9’s first stage is the only rocket capable of landing and reusing.
An onboard view of the Falcon 9 flight to space and back during the Smallsat rideshare mission pic.twitter.com/V5PyKxTlWD
– SpaceX (SpaceX) January 5, 2023
The Transporter 6 mission saw SpaceX reuse a Falcon 9 booster for the 14th time — a number just two shy of its record 16 rocket launches. Over the years, SpaceX has increased the number of times it has reused its rockets after performing refurbishments during pre-planned time periods in their lives. Recent launches have also increased the number of times ground cameras show the first and second stages separated from each other. This often shows them both flanked by the exhaust shaft from the first stage of their engines that ensures they can safely fly off the second stage.
However, even as it continues to leave viewers in awe with the Falcon 9 despite making 200 launches, all eyes this year when it comes to SpaceX will be elsewhere. SpaceX is developing a Starship rocket in Texas, with which it aims to take the crown from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for flying the world’s largest rocket. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) has launched to the Orion spacecraft for the agency’s historic Artemis 1 Moon mission. Orion flew over a million miles as part of its journey, also setting the record for the longest distance flown by a spacecraft designed for humans before returning to Earth in December.
So far, SpaceX has been periodically testing second-stage engines for the Starship, with some testing of first-stage engines as well. These are parts of its efforts to conduct a highly anticipated orbital test flight, but with Starship yet to perform crucial tests such as a wet rehearsal and full static fire for the first-stage engines of Super Heavy booster 33, an orbital flight schedule remains unclear.