From @elonmusk, “What it feels like to ride a rocket.”
SpaceX’s Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.
Early this morning at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX launched the first ever private spacecraft — the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket — to the International Space Station on an unmanned mission to deliver food, clothes, other supplies, and science experiments to the astronauts who are currently stationed there. And this is only the first of 11 more planned flights to the space station. Incredible and historic!!!
And stay til the end of the video, where at around the 10m mark, Falcon 9 and Dragon go into orbit and we get to see Mission Control, and (eventually) some (relieved) high fives and hugs.
from NASA Television. (Updated with embed-capable video.)