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Ride aboard the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on descent

Take a virtual trip from space back to planet Earth with an sped up video clip showing the eye-popping on-board views from the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage booster Friday as it plummeted back to Earth, opened aerodynamic steering fins and fired its engines for a final braking maneuver just before touchdown.

The 156-foot-tall booster detached from the Falcon 9’s second stage less than three minutes after Friday’s liftoff from Cape Canaveral at 5:39 p.m. EDT (2139 GMT) with the Thaicom 8 communications satellite.

The video from a rocket-mounted camera shows the first stage opening four grid fins in an X-wing configuration for aerodynamic stabilization, then flipping around for a re-entry burn and a landing burn, targeting SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” in the Atlantic Ocean.

The rocket flew arced to the edge of space — flying hundreds of feet over the puffy tops of thunderstorms — after reaching a top speed of more than 5,000 mph (8,000 kilometers per hour), then fired cold gas nitrogen thrusters to flip around and line up for re-entry.

The pulses of white exhaust seen in this video are the cold gas nitrogen thrusters firing. A condensation cloud is briefly seen around the booster as the rocket decelerates below the speed of sound.

Touchdown on the landing barge occurred about 8 minutes, 40 seconds, after liftoff approximately 420 miles (680 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral.

Portions of the on-board video were shown by SpaceX live on Friday’s live webcast of the launch.

The Falcon 9’s upper stage continued into orbit with the Thaicom 8 communications satellite, successfully deploying the broadcasting station in a preliminary orbit stretching more than 56,000 miles (90,000 kilometers) above Earth.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. Space Flight

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Ride aboard the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on descent

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