SpaceX recently landed another Falcon 9 rocket at a drone ship in the middle of the ocean. Although it was a success, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted on Twitter that the rocket sustained maximum damage during its landing and would not be able to be used again.
The reason being was the rocket came in extremely hot because of the fuel consumption and velocity required to get such a large satellite into space. The remaining fuel wasn’t much, and landing it was very difficult because of the physics involved.
Now, SpaceX will be attempting another launch and landing today; Friday, May 27th, to deliver the THAICOM-8 telecommunications satellite into an orbit around the Earth about 20,000 miles up from the surface.
The launch was originally slated for Thursday, but the commercial space company decided to postpone the launch until today. Musk noted that the reason was due to a “glitch in the motion of an upper stage engine actuator,” and also said that the problem wasn’t going to make or break the mission, but was worth spending the time to fix.
It may even be delayed again, depending on the weather conditions outside. But we'll have to wait and see to know for sure.
This will be another telecommunications satellite launch, just like that previous mission, which means SpaceX is giving the Falcon 9 rocket another run for its money.
It’s scheduled to take place at 5:39 P.M. Eastern Time and a live webcast of the event will be made available on YouTube:
Just like before, the Falcon 9 first stage will be re-entering the atmosphere very quickly and will be landing very hot on a less-than-ideal fuel supply.
Using the previous launch attempt as a benchmark, SpaceX now has a good idea of what to expect while launching satellites into space and landing their rockets safely. After all, the company experienced a lot of landing failures earlier in the year, but since then, SpaceX has really gotten their act together and has been landing space rockets left and right.
It is worth noting that reusable rocket technology is an endeavor many believe will make future space travel missions much less expensive. Rather than building a $16,000,000 rocket each and every time someone wants to have a space mission take place, it’s far more economical to re-fuel an existing rocket for $250,000.
So far, however, SpaceX has yet to use any Falcon 9 rocket more than once. It should be interesting to see a used rocket land a second time in the future.
Source: SpaceX, The Verge, YouTube