SpaceX has finally managed to launch its latest rocket Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral. After being disappointed at launch a number of times over the past week and a half, the Falcon finally managed to get off to a perfect start from its Florida pad.
The rocket crash landed on a drone ship at sea afterwards, but that was something that was expected according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. A successful landing wasn’t expected since the rocket had to send a heavy satellite into the orbit. The weight of the satellite was heavy in itself, so there wasn’t much fuel left for the rocket to return back to Earth and power its own landing.
They have managed to make a successful ground landing in the past but landing at sea is a completely different ball game altogether. Even though landing at sea requires less fuel, to land at sea one needs to land on a tiny floating ship which might be difficult. “Rocket landed hard on the droneship. Didn’t expect this one to work (v hot reentry), but next flight has a good chance,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk later tweeted.
The satellite, SES-9, was successfully dropped off at high altitude and can travel in its orbit on its own. SpaceX will be working on its Dragon astronaut capsule through 2016.