(You can click here to go and read my other previous article on the plans that SpaceX was going to approach before this!)
After the four difficult tests that SpaceX has tried on their upcoming 'Reusing Rockets' project, they were epic failures. April 8, 2016 has become a HUGE milestone for the spaceflight company because they have finally nailed their Falcon 9 rocket landing after several tests. Falcon 9 landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Florida. In the previous four tests, SpaceX had their rockets land on drone ships, but not exactly where expected, causing huge fiery explosions.
As theverge.com clearly states, "It’s also the second time the company has pulled off a landing." Yes that is correct, this is the second time SpaceX has been able to make their rocket return back successfully to earth. The first rocket landing was on December 21, 2015 where SpaceX was able to land their Falcon 9 on a ground base after launching it into space. Theverge.com also strongly claimed, "It's the first time SpaceX has been able to gently touch down the Falcon 9 post-launch — something the company has been trying to do for the past year. It’s a big first step toward reusable rockets." (This was on December 21, 2015) Now, it seems that four months later, SpaceX is also able land their Falcon 9 rocket into a drone ship at sea. It is the second landing of a rocket, but the first landing at sea for SpaceX.
Although there has ALREADY been a landing on land by the space exploration company Blue Origin, what makes the landing of SpaceX 'better and accurate' is that for the majority of the times, they are using lightweight rockets, Falcon 9. Falcon 9 is 135 ft in height, and measures 12 ft in radius, according to theverge.com. Compared to Blue Origin's landing, they used their rocket called New Shepard that is nearly half the length in height compared to the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 can travel up to 124 miles distance away from planet earth, while the New Shepard can only go up to 62 miles. Just because Blue Origin accomplished something that SpaceX was trying to do, it's not exactly the same because the Blue Origin rocket was meant to take passengers/crew members to space, while Falcon 9 is supposed to carry satellites and help boost spaceships up into space. It all depends on what you think of a rocket, according to theverge.com. Also, the New Shepard rocket vertically lands, while the Falcon 9 is in any position.
This has become history and a big milestone for SpaceX because it is somethings that will be VERY beneficial in the future. People and the social medias are making a huge deal about it because of its important . For example, SpaceX is taking this time to congratulate themselves for this long process! The videos on the tests are all over the news headline, and the tweets coming from SpaceX and the offices.
One of the main reasons why SpaceX wanted to try testing if Falcon 9 could land sea was because according to the video on theverge.com, it actually takes LESS fuel for their rockets to land at sea after it has been separated by the main spaceship, and it is a 'more direct' path back down to earth, since there is no gravity in space. This also makes it easier for the drone ships to be able to 'catch' the rocket. Now, the reasons why SpaceX would choose sea landing rather than land is because when the rocket is separated by the spaceship, it takes MORE fuel for their rockets to return, and in a curved difficult path. Also according to the video, SpaceX is expected to land one-third of their rockets on land, and the rest at sea. The main purpose why only one-third of the rockets are going to return to land is because those rockets use a heaver load, and a heavier load results of MORE fuel. We know that MORE FUEL causes a 'curved path' landing.
This also means that because of this discovery there is ALSO another benefit, the cost of the rockets used per launch. So it now seems like SpaceX will be collaborating with possible other spaceflight and space exploration companies to limit the cost of the launch per rocket. So the more SpaceX and other companies will be able to reuse their rockets, the LESS it would cost, and the MORE space explorations there will potentially be.
This big accomplishment is history for the spaceflight company due to the fact they are the first ones to complete a mission in space, and successfully land on a drone ship in the ocean. According to the article of cnet.com, they state, "SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday at about 1:45 p.m. PT. The drone landing took place about 10 minutes later.The Falcon 9 reached a top speed of over 4,000 miles per hour during launch and then had to be slowed down on its return to Earth and guided to "Of Course I Still Love You," the name of the drone ship landing pad that was waiting off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.'"
If you read my previous article on SpaceX, then you know how I talked about the different methods that they had in mind, when they were attempting the tests. In fact, one of them was the 'Grasshopper' mechanism. SpaceX actually used this mechanism for their final test. If you look at the video above, then you will notice how when the Falcon 9 slowly returns down to the drone ship, you will notice how on the rocket there are these 'legs' that were at the very bottom of the rocket, and that is the 'Grasshopper mechanism. '
It seems like this has become a very HUGE accomplishment for SpaceX, and will be used for several purposes later-on in the future of the Astronomy field. Not only this discovery has caused several benefits for reusing the rockets used for spaceship take-offs, but there are also some economical benefits because there will be MORE spaceflight explorations. Before, there used to be LESS spaceship launches every year, but now that I'm looking closer at it, it seems like there will be more explorations from MORE companies. It seems like in the real world, more companies and industries are trying to help protect the earth, SpaceX is trying to reuse their spaceship rockets, and more companies are trying to do more and more overtime.
1)First slideshow images (Flacon 9, and drone ship) "Of Course I Still Love You" courtesy of en.wikipedia.org. 2)Twitter image SpaceX account courtesy of twitter.com. 3)Blue Origin New Shepard spaceship image courtesy of space.com. 4)Ocean and ground landing images in second slideshow courtesy of theverge.com official video. 5)Video courtesy of theverge.com from YouTube.com. 6)Concluding image of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.