SpaceX Has Made History by Landing Their Rocket Back on Earth

SpaceX made history last night as it successfully landed the very first stage booster of a Falcon 9 rocket on land at Cape Canaveral.

Much like the Millennium Falcon returned to flight in the brand-new Star Wars motion picture, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket – named after Han Solo’s imaginary spaceship – returned to air travel last night after a six-month hiatus.

The last time SpaceX tried to launch was June, when its rocket, bound for the International Space Station, exploded 3 minutes into flight, breaking the business’s spotless performance history.

This launch is more than a return to air travel for SpaceX. The company attempted something that’s never been done before: landing the first stage booster on a landing pad at Cape Canaveral.

Previous efforts to recuperate the first stage have actually been on one of two floating self-governing spaceport drone ship (ASDS). SpaceX constructed the 2 drifting landing platforms, around the size of a football field, and named them “Just Read The Instructions” and “Of Course I Still Love You” as a nod to one of Elon Musk’s favorite sci-fi writers, Iain M. Banks.

“We could not have requested for a more perfect mission, it was definitely perfect”.

For this mission, SpaceX abandoned the ASDS and instead focused on landing their upgraded Falcon 9 on the giant X at the landing pad on Cape Canaveral. The landing spot, called “Landing Zone 1”, was formerly Launch Complex 13 and hosted missile launches up until it was shut off in 1980s.

The rocket lifted off on time following a 24-hour delay to increase the odds of landing, according to a tweet by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The hold-up paid off big time as the rocket not just lifted off on time, but landed right on target.

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This mission likewise saw the first flight of the updated Falcon. Named “Full Thrust Falcon,” this variation of the rocket is the most powerful ever flown. The upgraded booster measures around five feet taller than previous variations – 229.6 feet high – which equates to about 200,000 pounds of additional thrust. The included oomph not only allowed the Falcon to provide its industrial haul of 11 ORBCOMM satellites to low Earth orbit, however, the expanded fuel tank also meant it had enough fuel for a controlled descent and landing of the first stage.

Standing on the veranda of the media viewing area at Port Canaveral, you might really feel the feeling as everybody awaited liftoff. Bystanders held their breath as the rocket released and finally exhaled as the automobile travelled through MaxQ, the area of optimum vibrant pressure. Cheers might be heard as the second stage fired up and the very first stage headed back to Earth.

The booster illuminated the sky and faded away as it completed a series of 3 burns required to slow the automobile enough to land. As the rocket approached the ground, two sonic booms echoed through the darkness– a noise that hasn’t been heard considering that the last shuttle bus touched down in 2011.

In a post launch press conference, Elon Musk revealed his enjoyment for the launch and landing and exactly what this implies for the future of spaceflight. “After liftoff, I headed out to the causeway and initially I believed the booster had actually blown up due to the fact that I heard the sonic boom right as the stage touched down,” Musk said. “We could not have actually asked for a more best objective, it was definitely perfect, with the booster touching down virtually dead center.”.

Right now, one Falcon 9 rocket costs more than $60 million dollars to make and SpaceX is cranking out one rocket every 3 weeks. With fuel expenses equating to $200 thousand to fuel one rocket, booster reusability will significantly decrease the expenses of rockets by as much as a factor of 100.

“This means a lot, not simply for SpaceX, however for spaceflight in basic,” Musk stated.

Once recovered, this booster will be refurbished then taken to Pad 39A where a fixed fire test will be conducted to guarantee it can fly once again. SpaceX plans to keep this specific booster on the ground, but has strategies to fly future returned boosters.

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Chad

I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

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