After four failed attempts at landing a rocket on a drone ship, Elon Musk’s SpaceX finally managed to pull of this feat with their Falcon 9 on Saturday. This development marks a crucial milestone in the space research and development field.
The launch of the Falcon 9 took place at 4:43 pm EST from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This space mobile housed the Dragon cargo capsule which is now on its way to the International Space Station with essentials for the crew there. The launch went without any problems at all making things even better when the Falcon 9 landed without a dent on a drone ship floating in the ocean.
What was different about this [landing] is that the rocket landed instead of putting a hole in the ship or tipping over,
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX joked at a press conference with NASA after liftoff.
The idea of recovering and reusing rockets isn’t new. SpaceX and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin have been trying to get this technological innovation to work for a while now. Theoretically, recovering a rocket without it being damaged too much could help companies save essential time and money as this can be refurbished and reused.
The only concern is landing a rocket without damaging it critically.
SpaceX had managed to soft-land a rocket earlier in December but that was on stable land. Today’s recovery, however, was a completely different story. The space agency managed to land their Falcon ship on a drone ship floating in the ocean called ‘Of Course I Still Love You.’
The primary consignment of the ship was to bring 7,000 pounds of important supplies to the crew on the ISS which is the 8th of up to 20 missions to the ISS that SpaceX is contracted to fly for NASA.
That’s not even half of the history SpaceX made today. The Dragon capsule en route to the ISS houses Bigelow Aerospace’s inflatable space habitat known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). As we reported earlier, this habitat will be attached to one of the nodes on the station and will be used as a research center and shelter for researchers on the ISS.
The Dragon will return to earth with a load of trash and damaged equipment on Sunday morning.