On Tuesday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on a rideshare mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying 114 satellites to orbit. It was the company’s 200th flight and the 15th mission for this particular Falcon 9’s first stage, tying the company’s reusable booster record.
The video starts at launch, then follows the first stage’s descent and landing. After it lands, engineers come to the rocket (either onboard one of SpaceX’s drone ships or on solid ground) and secure it.
Reusable Orbital-Class Boosters
SpaceX’s reusable orbital-class boosters are a key part of the company’s promise to make space launches affordable and easier. They also support new business models like space tourism, mining water on the moon, and broadcasting internet from low-earth orbit.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket has become the first orbital-class launcher to land its first stage safely back on Earth. This first stage is the 14-story core of the rocket that contains the main engines and fuel needed for launch.
Unlike the space shuttle’s reusable solid rocket boosters, which land at LZ-1 in California, the first stages of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket make controlled descents back to the Earth after each launch. The first stage separates from the upper stage and lands on either a drone ship or a landing pad, depending on the mission’s payload.
First Booster Landing
SpaceX’s first-stage rocket booster landed for the first time on land after a successful flight to boost 11 Orbcomm satellites into orbit. This landing marks a big step in SpaceX’s quest to lower its launch costs, by reusing the boosters on land and at sea.
The company has two drone ships that can recover its first-stage boosters, which helps reduce the amount of fuel needed on each flight. It has been working to build more drone ships because of the increase in its launch cadence.
SpaceX’s first-stage rocket blasted off Monday evening from Cape Canaveral, boosting a batch of 11 Orbcomm satellites into orbit. It then landed intact near its launch pad after a short ride back to Earth.
Second Booster Landing
Elon Musk’s space company launched a Falcon 9 rocket with an autonomously-piloted crew Dragon capsule on a mission to the International Space Station early Thursday. But the highlight of this mission was a record-breaking second booster landing, which happened just minutes after liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
A sonic boom cracked above SpaceX’s landing site as the two side-boosters touched down near the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The two boosters were the 163rd and 164th successful orbital-class booster landings, making them one of SpaceX’s most reliable launches to date.
To achieve this level of reliability, SpaceX has had to master reusable orbital-class boosters in a way that other companies or space agencies never achieved before. This achievement is significant because it means that the Falcon rocket family has completed 160 successful launches without ever losing a booster. It is also a significant milestone for SpaceX’s quest to reuse orbital-class boosters, and it will likely prove to be an important benchmark in the future.
Third Booster Landing
SpaceX’s Third Booster Landing is a significant step forward for the company and its vision of cheap access to space. The company says reusable boosters help reduce launch costs by reducing the amount of hardware needed to get a payload to space.
The boosters made a pinpoint, synchronized landing at Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station near the Florida coast. During the landing, four sonic booms echoed in the area as the rockets came back to Earth.
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