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Space & Astronomy

SpaceX makes history with vertical landing

By T.K. Randall
December 22, 2015 · Comment icon 30 comments

The Falcon 9 touched down on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. Image Credit: YouTube / SpaceX
Elon Musk's private space firm has managed to pull off a vertical rocket landing for the first time.
Not to be outdone by Blue Origin's BE-3 rocket which successfully launched a spacecraft before returning to the Earth last month, SpaceX has now taken things one step further by using its own Falcon 9 rocket to launch 11 satellites in to orbit before coming in to land at Cape Canaveral.
The impressive feat, which represents a major leap forward in the development of reusable rockets, follows on from a string of unsuccessful attempts which had set the company back several months.


Reusable rockets are a big thing for private space firms as they have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of each launch and make missions in to space a lot more affordable.



Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (30)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by highdesert50 9 years ago
A truly admirable event. It captured our imaginations while maintaining a distance that kindles our fantasies of longing and aspiration to explore the unattainable. Yet, it sustains our hopes and dreams and makes them seem attainable.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
What’s next for SpaceX’s recovered Falcon 9 booster? SpaceX ground crews at Kennedy Space Center’s Apollo-era launch complex 39A are putting the 156-foot-tall Falcon 9 first stage booster that flew to space and back Dec. 21 through a thorough inspection, setting the stage for a hold-down test firing at the launch pad.Workers tilted the rocket on its side at Landing Zone 1, a former Atlas missile launch facility at Cape Canaveral, where the booster made its vertical rocket-assisted landing. Read more...
Comment icon #23 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
SpaceX poised to test-fire landed Falcon rocket's engines SpaceX as soon as Thursday aims to test-fire the engines of the Falcon 9 rocket booster that made a historic Dec. 21 landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.The test less than a month after the landing would be an important demonstration of the feasibility of reusing such boosters, which SpaceX believes is critical to lowering launch costs. In a change of plans, the company is poised to perform the test at Launch Complex 40, its active pad at the Cape, rather than at Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A. Read more...
Comment icon #24 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
I understand the historic nature of the booster but wouldn't it be even more historic if they launched and recovered it again?
Comment icon #25 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
I understand the historic nature of the booster but wouldn't it be even more historic if they launched and recovered it again? They want to use this one to do ground tests and analysis on. They need to prove that it is capable of re-flying before they actually attempt it. After all if you had a $100 million satellite would you trust "honest Elon's second hand rocket sales" unless he had proved that it was reliable?
Comment icon #26 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
They want to use this one to do ground tests and analysis on. They need to prove that it is capable of re-flying before they actually attempt it. After all if you had a $100 million satellite would you trust "honest Elon's second hand rocket sales" unless he had proved that it was reliable? No I certainly wouldn't want my satellite going up on the first reused stage but I was thinking they would launch it with no payload as proof of concept to build up confidence. I completely understand the testing though and realize that they know far more about their rocket than little old me ever will.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Returned Falcon 9 Booster fires up for Static Fire Test SpaceX conducted a Static Fire Test of the Falcon 9 booster that recently launched and returned to Florida’s space coast, becoming the first rocket stage to propulsively land after sending a payload on its way to orbit. The test, performed in the evening hours on Friday, marks another milestone for the company and its ongoing efforts to re-use rocket stages in the future with prospects of significant cost cuts for access to space.Read more...
Comment icon #28 Posted by crandles57 9 years ago
For each Falcon9 mission 9 Merlin-1D engines dont get wasted and thats quite a good deal as one of them is something in between 1.3 and 2.0M USD. Launch of a Falcon Heavy with 18 more such engines is advertised at $90 million versus $61.2 million for the v1.1FT. Perhaps $2M is a bit high if buying in bulk? Is the resulting $14.4M ((90-61.2)/2) for a F9 first stage a reasonable estimate of the cost? If it is and the 30% hit in payload is about right, doing the numbers this doesn't seem to offer any increase in weight per launch cost. What it does offer is flexibility effectively rightsizing the... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by crandles57 9 years ago
Possible barge landing today. 3 to 4 metre waves probably not ideal. Launch 18:42 UTC (13:42ET 10:42 PT) http://gizmodo.com/watch-as-spacex-launches-new-ocean-satellite-and-attemp-1753411190 http://www.spacex.com/webcast/
Comment icon #30 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Possible barge landing today. 3 to 4 metre waves probably not ideal. Launch 18:42 UTC (13:42ET 10:42 PT) http://gizmodo.com/watch-as-spacex-launches-new-ocean-satellite-and-attemp-1753411190 http://www.spacex.com/webcast/ There is already a separate topic on this launch here: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=290435


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