Watch One Rocket Launch From Up Close and Another Land at Your Feet

When SpaceX succeeded in landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating barge last month, the feat won kudos and almost two million views on YouTube.

Recently SpaceX released even more impressive 360 video from a camera sitting on the barge, which shows you just how rock-steady the descent was. Don’t forget to look up when watching the scene in VR. That light that keeps getting brighter is the rocket, about to land on your head.▼

360 View | First Stage Landing on Droneship

Even better is this 360-degree HD view from a camera placed right next to ULA’s Delta IV rocket during last February’s launch of an NRO spy satellite. No living observer could ever get this close, so VR is about the best we’ll be able to do. The views around the gantry are impressive too.▼

Rocket Launch 360: DeltaIV NROL-45

Nor is that the only 360 view of a launch on the web. Russia Today has a nice, if more distant, view of the nighttime Soyuz launch that delivered three of the space station’s current residents to orbit in March.▼

360 video: Russia's Soyuz TMA-20M lifts off for International Space Station from Baikonur

Just four days earlier, Russia Today had set up a camera at the viewing site for the launch of Europe’s ExoMars mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. You can (virtually) hang out with what I assume are happy mission scientists and engineers cheering on the Proton rocket.▼

ExoMars launch 360 footage: Russia/Europe mission to Red Planet blast-off from Baikonur

And if you’re tired of all that noise and thunder, here’s a quieter scene: That same ISS crew’s Soyuz being prepared for launch.  Looks pretty cold out there. ▼

360 video: Soyuz TMA 20M gets ready for takeoff to ISS from ‪Baikonur‬

Note: If any of the YouTube links above don’t work, or you don’t see the cardboard icon at the bottom of the YouTube window, open the video directly in your phone’s YouTube app by tapping the “share” symbol [arrow], then the ... [three dots] symbol.  And be sure to set it for the highest quality.

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