Welcome to the era of Elon Musk and yes he has done it again. SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has successfully landed back on ground after carrying out a mission that involved putting 11 small satellites into place. This success implies some really great things for future of space travel with the reduction of cost being the primary one.
SpaceX has attempted thrice before this attempt and failed in those attempts. The fourth attempt however was rewarded with success and the team rejoiced as the rocket executed its landing perfectly and successfully. The weather and some other minor setbacks kept the flight grounded over the weekend but SpaceX launched Falcon9 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday evening.
The primary mission was to deploy 11 small satellites into low orbit for the Orbcomm’s (ORBC) new satellite network. The mission was carried out successfully and the rocket landing served as the cherry on top for the mission team. According to a SpaceX spokesperson, the task was “like launching a pencil over the Empire State building and having it land on a shoebox on the other side…during a wind storm.”
The company attempted the first flight back in January where the fins that were supposed to guide the rocket during descent malfunctioned and it crashed into the drone ship that it was originally supposed to land on. The second attempt took place in April and was almost successful, almost. An engine malfunction resulted in the rocket falling off the platform and into the ocean. The third flight was in June that aimed at landing in mid-sea and the spacecraft exploded a few minutes after liftoff and took with about two tons of NASA cargo.
11 satellites deployed to target orbit and Falcon has landed back at Cape Canaveral. Headed to LZ-1. Welcome back, baby!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015
The successful landing on Monday was the very first attempt by SpaceX to land the Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground. SpaceX said, “A jumbo jet costs about the same as one of our Falcon 9 rockets, but airlines don’t junk a plane after a one-way trip from LA to New York.” The company’s rockets cost $60-90 million.
Blue Origin that is being headed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also managed to execute a safe rocket landing following a launch on 24th November, however, SpaceX was quick in reminding everyone that the feat that was performed on Monday was a far more intricate one. The Blue Origin’s rocket traveled vertically to a ‘suborbital’ 62 miles above Earth whereas the Falcon9 had to reach the low orbit – it starts at about 100 miles above Earth – and the rocket was required to travel at an angle and at speeds of more than 17,000 mph to put spacecraft into the orbit.
We congratulate SpaceX and Elon Musk on pulling off this amazing feat!