Elon Musk’s SpaceX has quite a futuristic vision. Its latest objective includes successfully relaunching a rocket. Creating a new rocket for every launch costs millions of dollars and makes every launch mission super expensive. However, if entire rockets or rocket parts are reused, the launch costs can be greatly reduced.
On Friday, SpaceX successfully relaunched Falcon 9 into orbit, the 12th out of 17 successes. The rocket’s first stage, the 14-story-tall core that houses the fuel and the rocket’s main engines, touched down on one of the company’s autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off from a launchpad at nearby Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Falcon 9 was previously launched in January, when it was used to put 10 satellites into orbit for communications company Iridium. The rocket then landed on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX retrieved the rocket and spent the next few months repairing and revamping it for its relaunch.
The task was not easy. Since the rocket had to push BulgariaSat-1 to a high orbit, the first stage experienced more force and heat during reentry than any other Falcon 9, according to a tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Musk even warned that there was a “good chance rocket booster doesn’t make it back.”
Shortly after the landing, though, Musk returned to Twitter to add that the rocket booster used “almost all of the emergency crush core,” which helps soften the landing. It was the first time SpaceX landed one rocket on both of its drone ships.
This event has opened up major possibilities and SpaceX is definitely positive about its success in the mission. If and when SpaceX perfects the relaunch and re-landing of old rockets, it will prove to be a major breakthrough in the world of aeronautics.
Megha Shah for TechFunnel.com