Early this morning, SpaceX launched a rocket from space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The payload was 10 Iridium satellites. The video below is set to begin seconds before launch.
Shortly after 7 minutes after launch (29:12 on the video below), the Falcon 9 first stage made a perfect landing on the “Just Read The Instructions” droneship in the Pacific Ocean.
The first Iridium satellite deployed at just over 57 minutes following take-off (skip to 1:19:00 in the video to watch), with the following nine being deployed every 100 seconds after.
I really appreciate the embedded timeline in the SpaceX launch videos. They’re very convenient to navigate to important points of interest during the mission.
Yesterday was a big day for Elon Musk and his space launch services company SpaceX. On April 9, 2016, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The rocket was topped with the company’s Dragon capsule, filled with 7,000 pounds of supplies destined for the International Space Station. Included in the payload was the 3,100 pound Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), Bigelow Aerospace’s attempt to demonstrate its expandable space habitats.
SpaceX CRS-8 Mission Patch – Source: SpaceX
The highlight of the mission, designated CRS-8, was SpaceX’s first successful landing of its Falcon 9 rocket on a droneship (christened “Of Course I Still Love You”) in the Atlantic Ocean. This feat is something SpaceX had tried and failed four times previously. SpaceX has successfully landed its Falcon 9 on land, but that challenge paled in comparison to a landing on a barge being tossed around by Atlantic currents.
SpaceX has put a huge emphasis on making its programs efficient and reusable. Their hope is that their methods will drive down the costs of putting people and equipment into orbit and beyond, and make launches much more common. Friday’s successful landing of the Falcon 9 was a huge step in that direction.
All in all, Friday’s success should serve as an important milestone in space exploration. It also highlights the ever increasing transfer of space access from governments to commercial industries.
Check out the amazing video below, of the Falcon 9 landing on ‘Of Course I Still Love You’.
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