NASA’s latest SDO (Solar Dynamics Observation) video is fun! While most of us have seen lots of Shuttle launches and even the occasional iPhone-equipped weather balloon launch, its somewhat rare to see the first-person launch of a more conventional rocket. This one appears to be just about man-sized, based on the end of the video where one of the operators retrieves the rocket from its landing position among what looks like saw grass.
Unlike the relatively straight-forward flight pattern of the shuttle or other manned space craft, for a small rocket, the ability to spin on launch helps it maintain a straight flight path, in the same way that rifled bullets fly straighter, farther than non-rifled bullets. The graph at the side of the video does a good job of explaining where in the launch the rocket is as it goes, and as always, the view of the Earth below is just intoxicating: