MAR 16, 2017 08:11 AM PDT

SpaceX Just Launched a Falcon 9 Rocket and Didn't Try to Land it

Anyone who’s been keeping up with the modern space industry knows that commercial space companies like Blur Origin and SpaceX have been working on new kinds of rocket technology that allows launched rockets to land themselves upright after use so they can be re-fueled for more missions in the future.

SpaceX just launched an "expendable" rocket.

Image Credit: SpaceX

Not only is this more cost-efficient, but it’s also more environmentally-friendly because the first stage of the rocket doesn’t get dumped into the ocean, rather it lands upright on land or on a barge.

Landing rockets has become somewhat of the norm for SpaceX, so the company tries to land their $16,000,000 rockets any time they can, but a Falcon 9 rocket was launched just this week that never had any intention of landing like so many before it have.

According to several news outlets, the rocket was carrying an extremely heavy payload from Echostar called the Echostar 23 satellite that needed to be put into a high-altitude orbit. Once the Falcon 9 was able to penetrate that deep into space above Earth’s surface, it wouldn’t have enough fuel to make the return landing.

Previous landing failures have proven that trying to land on insufficient fuel is an incredibly bad idea, as it leads to failed landings and explosions. That said, all the failures allowed SpaceX to build a baseline, and after learning what they could and couldn’t get away with in terms of how much fuel was needed for a landing, they determined that this landing wouldn’t have been possible.

As a result, the first stage of this Falcon 9 didn’t land upright, but landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean immediately following its completed mission.

It’s worth noting that the mission launched from NASA’s Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at around 2 A.M. EDT. This is the same place where the Apollo missions launched decades ago, and it's notably the first time that a commercial satellite mission ever launched from this location.

You can watch the launch below:

The company would have launched from their own pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, had it not have been destroyed in the explosion just months ago.

SpaceX notes that they’re going to be improving the fuel capacities of future Falcon rockets, so this might just be one of the very last “expendable” rocket launches that the commercial space company ever performs.

Still, it’s always interesting to consider the circumstances behind each launch.

Source: Wired

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 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2018
Picking a Landing Site On Mars is No Easy Task
When space agencies like NASA send landers and rovers to other places in the solar system to explore, one of the most challenging questions they’re c...
NOV 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 05, 2018
The Mystery Behind Oumuamua Continues...
Last year, Oumuamua became the first-known interstellar object to be identified by astronomers as it passed through our solar system. At first, astronomers...
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 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 18, 2018
New Horizons Spacecraft 'Clear of Hazards' As it Approaches Ultima Thule
The Kuiper Belt is a vastly-unexplored region of the solar system filled with Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), and NASA expects to learn more about these object...
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....
DEC 26, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 26, 2018
Water Detected on Variety of Different Asteroids
Earth sports a lot of water and planetary scientists still aren’t entirely sure how it all got here. To help solve this mystery, astronomers regularl...
Loading Comments...