Slightly delayed from the original estimated launch date of May 3rd, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket from its Launchpad just last night carrying a communications satellite for Japan.
SpaceX announced that the deployment of the satellite into the atmosphere was 100% successful, but then the American commercial spaceflight company wowed us all again with another successful landing of its Falcon 9 rocket at sea via an autonomous drone ship dedicated specifically for the landing.
This is the second successful landing of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at sea. The company originally stuck its first landing at sea last month after numerous failures. As it would appear, SpaceX is really starting to learn from its past mistakes and perfect the landing process down to an art.
It’s worth noting that the landing conditions were slightly different this time around. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, shared on Twitter around the time of the landing that the rocket came in much hotter this time and with less fuel, which made the landing attempt slightly more challenging.
Moreover, the rocket was landed in the dark, rather than during Sunlight, which proposed additional challenges.
This gamble is likely because SpaceX wants to save money in the long run and wants to challenge itself to be as economical on each space trip as possible. The experimentation helps SpaceX to find that sweet speed between not enough fuel and too much fuel so that they’re at the ‘just right’ mark. It also allows them to push their limits and find out what they’re capable of doing and do it.
Reusable rocket technology is coming into focus. It takes SpaceX about $16,000,000 to build a new Falcon 9 rocket, but it’s only around $250,000 to re-fuel one. With that in mind, reusable rockets will make space travel more cost efficient and help with having them occur far more often than they ever have before.
Musk is going to need a larger rocket storage hangar, as he jokingly stated on Twitter last night.
You can watch the full launch in the video hosted by SpaceX on YouTube below: