During most missions that involve a drone ship landing, the SpaceX video feed glitches and cuts out as the rocket approaches the deck of the ship, …
SpaceX landing Falcon 9 rockets on drone ships in the ocean is old hat by now, a feat first achieved more than three years ago. But a new video of the familiar descent put it in a new light on Saturday morning.
Under the cover of darkness, it’s impossible to see the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket return from space and land on Of Course I Still Love You, the droneship off the coast of Florida, but infrared cameras captured the landing during a mission livestream, making it visible in monochrome. (A clip of the landing is isolated in the video above.)
Even better for rocket enthusiasts is that the Falcon 9 landing on the deck of the drone ship is actually crystal clear. During most missions that involve a drone ship landing, the SpaceX video feed glitches and cuts out as the rocket approaches the deck of the ship, denying viewers the sight of a rocket landing on a floating deck in the ocean. But that wasn’t the case on Saturday. In HD, you can see the landing legs extend, and the blue-green water splash around the drone ship, from the point of view of a video camera mounted on the first stage of the rocket.
“That looks awesome,” commented Jessica Anderson, a manufacturing engineer at SpaceX, who hosted the overnight webcast, as Falcon 9 dropped to Earth a few minutes before 3 a.m. Eastern.
This latest SpaceX launch was for CRS-17, a Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station, which saw, among other projects, chips of human organs sent to space for research, and a radiation-tolerant supercomputer built by students from the University of Pittsburgh. The Dragon cargo capsule with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies and science will arrive at the ISS on Monday.
The Falcon 9 booster used on Saturday will be used again for two more missions to the ISS — CRS 18 and 19. Kenny Todd, ISS Mission Operations Integration Manager for NASA, said as much.
“Quite frankly we have a vested interest in this booster,” Todd said during the post-launch press conference, reported Ars Technica. “The intent is for us to use it for 18, for sure, and potentially 19. From our standpoint it made a difference.”
“Falcon Heavy center core booster completed a static fire test at our rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas ahead of its next mission → http://spacex.com/stp-2,” the company wrote in a Twitter status.
The upcoming mission will be the first Falcon Heavy flight for the United States Department of Defense dubbed Space Test Program-2 (STP-2). According to Spaceflight Now, the Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled to blast off from historic Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 22. The aim of this mission is to send almost 24 satellites to space.
“The STP-2 mission will be among the most challenging launches in SpaceX history with four separate upper-stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits, a final propulsive passivation maneuver, and a total mission duration of over six hours,” SpaceX wrote in a mission description. “In addition, the U.S. Air Force plans to reuse side boosters from the Arabsat-6A Falcon Heavy launch, recovered after a return to launch site landing, making it the first reused Falcon Heavy ever flown.”
The SpaceX mission’s 23 satellites also have different purposes: NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission will pilot a new kind of fuel that might improve the efficiency and safety of spacecraft propulsion, while Prox-1, which was developed by students at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will test small satellites to see if they can perform close-encounter operations.
However, in March, Musk’s SpaceX pipped Boeing to the post by successfully completing its first mission of sending an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station, which returned safely to Earth.
The operation’s success was seen as crucial moment in NASA’s plans to resume human space flight from US soil.
SpaceX’s first crewed test flight is slated to launch in July with U.S. astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. However, NASA have said that date is now being reconsidered.
Boeing is aiming to launch their spacecraft, called Starliner, on an unmanned test flight sometime in August, with the hope of astronauts piloting the vessel by the end of the year.
SpaceX had another fantastic launch of their amazing Falcon Heavy rocket last week, launching the Arabsat 6A communications satellite into orbit that …
SpaceX had another fantastic launch of their amazing Falcon Heavy rocket last week, launching the Arabsat 6A communications satellite into orbit that focuses on delivering television, internet and mobile services to various countries in the Middle East.
Upon re-entry, all three of the boosters were successfully landed, including two on land, and one on water aboard the autonomous ship called “Of Course I still Love You”. Once again, creating a jaw dropping experience as you watch those boosters touch ground, just like something out of a science fiction blockbuster.
SpaceX continues to amaze the public, businesses and governments alike with their fantastic record of successful accomplishments. Unfortunately though, mother nature isn’t as easy to impress, as the central core (rocket) did not make it back to land without damage.
Although it successfully landed on the ship without any issues, the drone ship still had the long hike back to land before they were clear of any chance of accidents. Thanks to rough sea conditions, the rocket was unfortunately toppled during transit, and it was ultimately damaged and will not be re-used as it was originally intended.
The Falcon Heavy is a critical SpaceX mission, and it was finally launched on its first commercial mission. While the landings were almost perfect, …
As conditions worsened with eight to ten-foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright. While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence. We do not expect future missions to be impacted.”
The core couldn’t be secured with the help of the octagrabber mechanism. However, a couple of enhancements were made so that the octagrabber can be used for future heavy missions.
Good news – SpaceX recovered the Falcon Heavy booster lost in the sea
However, not everything is lost. It appears that the center core wasn’t entirely knocked off the ship. The core was cut in in half to save essential components. Rough seas also managed to damage the center up to a certain degree.
Back on Tuesday, someone asked Elon Musk if they will try to recover any sections of the core. “Engines seem ok, pending inspection” he replied.
At the end of the day, this mission was, in fact, a success, since SpaceX managed to recover all three boosters. Last year the center core got to the ocean, so the recent flight is definitely an improvement. In the future things should be even better.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket’s Booster Got Lost Into the Sea
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch Delayed Once Again
Recommended For You
Female Astronaut Will Set a New Record for Women
New Meteor Strikes, This Time Over The East Coast
Antares Launched – Cygnus Cargo Ship Is Making its Way towards the International Space Station
Why Life is More Stressful as it Gets Better
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
CommentName *Email *Website