SpaceX has finished it again.
The private spaceflight company landed a Falcon 9 rocket for a sixth time in a final 8 months early Sunday morning (Aug. 14), pulling off a attainment during a successful launch of a JCSAT-16 blurb communications satellite.
The two-stage Falcon 9 carried off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT) Sunday, carrying JCSAT-16 toward a apart geosynchronous send circuit (GTO). [Photos: SpaceX Launches JCSAT-16 Satellite, Lands Rocket during Sea]
Less than 9 mins later, a rocket’s initial theatre came behind for a pinpoint alighting on a rug of a robotic boat called Of Course we Still Love You, that was stationed in a Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off a Florida coast.
A text touchdown had been anything though guaranteed.
“Given this mission’s GTO destination, a initial theatre will be theme to impassioned velocities and re-entry heating, creation a successful alighting challenging,” SpaceX member wrote in a pre-launch JCSAT-16 press kit.
SpaceX initial landed a Falcon 9 in December, during a launch of 11 satellites for a association Orbcomm. The association scored 4 some-more successes, along with 3 failures, by July; Sunday’s touchdown noted success series six.
These attempts are partial of SpaceX’s bid to rise entirely and rapidly reusable rockets. Such record could eventually cut a cost of spaceflight by a cause of 100, assisting coax humanity’s widespread out into a solar system, according to association owner and CEO Elon Musk. (Musk has pronounced regularly that he started SpaceX behind in 2002 essentially to assistance amiability inhabit Mars.)
Four of a Falcon 9 landings have occurred on a “drone ship,” while a other dual came down on terra firma, behind during Cape Canaveral. The touchdown end depends on a idea profile: Rockets that blast payloads toward apart destinations like GTO can't lift adequate fuel to make it all a approach behind to a launch site, so a boat is a usually option, SpaceX member have said.
SpaceX has nonetheless to re-fly any of a landed Falcon 9 initial stages, though that miracle could occur as early as this autumn, Musk has said.
SpaceX’s rocket landings, while dramatic, have all been delegate objectives; a categorical idea of any idea has always been to get a cargo to orbit. That was no opposite Sunday morning, as SpaceX was customarily endangered with promulgation JCSAT-16 on a way.
The booster was built by Space Systems Loral and will be used as an in-orbit backup by Sky Perfect JSAT Corp., a Tokyo-based satellite-communications provider.
SpaceX launched a JCSAT-14 satellite this past May, a liftoff that also featured a successful alighting during sea.
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