MAY 28, 2016 08:13 AM PDT

SpaceX Successfully Lands a Falcon 9 Rocket for a Third Time

On Friday, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station that was carrying another telecommunications satellite known as THAICOM-8 that needed to be placed into orbit around the Earth.
 
Following a successfully primary mission, SpaceX once again attempted to land its first stage on a barge in the middle of the ocean. The landing of the Falcon 9 on Friday, following the primary mission, was a success.

SpaceX has just stuck another Falcon 9 rocket landing at sea, making this the third successful landing in a row.

Having learned a few lessons from the Falcon 9 landing earlier this month, which was also carrying a heavy telecommunications satellite, SpaceX was able to fine-tune the landing process after having a fair benchmark.
 
It’s no easy task, when heavy telecommunications satellites are being put into orbit, to land the rocket that puts them there. Because they’re so heavy, they eat up a lot of fuel during the delivery process. This leaves less fuel for the landing attempt and means that rocket has to come in very hot and very fast, and leaves more room for error.

SpaceX affixed a camera to the first stage that shows the landing taking effect from the point where the first stage reached space, to the point where the first stage made contact with the drone ship.
 

 
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the landing wasn’t without its drama, however. It would appear that because the rocket approached the drone ship and near maximum landing speed, the first stage suffered damage to the contingency crush core.
 


 
These are the aluminum honeycomb-shaped objects at the bottom of the rocket that help with energy absorption in the telescoping actuator, and they were responsible for the ‘tipping’ motions that are seen after the rocket landed on the surface of the drone ship at sea.
 
Fortunately, however, when the rocket makes it back to SpaceX headquarters, it should be very easy to replace the spent part.
 
It’s worth noting that the previous successful landing had deemed the Falcon 9 rocket as sustaining “maximum damage” following its fast approach to the drone ship at sea. These very hot and very fast landings are clearly very hard on the rocket equipment.
 
For SpaceX, this is the third successful landing in a row following tons of failures at the beginning of the year. The sudden turnaround in success stories shows that SpaceX is getting their act together and figuring out what it takes to successful land a rocket, even under the most extreme circumstances.
 
Reusable rockets are going to transform the ease and costs of space travel because instead of spending $16,000,000 on a new rocket every time a space mission is called for, it would be far more efficient to just fuel a reusable rocket for $250,000 and use it multiple times in a row.
 
Reusable rocket technology is, however, still in its very early stages of development. It’s not likely that human beings will be placed on a used rocket for safety reasons, however for the multiple satellites that go up into space so often, it helps a lot with the cost of taking them there.

Source: Space.com, SpaceX (YouTube), Elon Musk (Twitter)

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 24, 2018
NASA's Parker Solar Probe Snaps a Picture of Earth
Back in August, a Delta IV Heavy rocket ignited its engines and lofted NASA’s highly-anticipated Parker Solar Probe into space. Just over one month l...
NOV 04, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 04, 2018
These Planets Have More Extreme Weather Than Earth
You might think that the weather can get nasty here on Earth, but it pales in comparison to the weather on other planets in the solar system. The weather c...
NOV 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 19, 2018
Kepler Scientists Reflect on the Now Retired Mission
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope recently ran out of fuel, preventing it from aligning its antenna toward Earth and maintaining communication. NASA knew...
DEC 16, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 16, 2018
Look Up to the Skies for a Bright Green Comet Sunday Night
Stargazers should be in for a pleasant treat if they look up to the night skies on Sunday. As it would seem, a comet commonly referred to as the ‘Chr...
DEC 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 24, 2018
Saturn Won't Have its Rings Forever, So Enjoy Them While They Last
If you’ve been following the news lately, then you might’ve heard that Saturn is losing its rings more quickly than astronomers ever realized....
JAN 07, 2019
Space & Astronomy
JAN 07, 2019
Chinese Rover Begins Scientific Exploration on Moon's 'Dark Side'
The Moon orbits the Earth just as the Earth orbits the Sun, but the Moon’s orbit is tidally-locked. In essence, this means that the Moon rotates once...
Loading Comments...