STATES CHRONICLE – Private aerospace company SpaceX sends SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to deliver a Japanese satellite into orbit and successfully returns.
This mission was SpaceX Falcon 9’s first one, ascending last Friday and returning Monday night without any complications on a drone ship in Port Canaveral, Florida.
It’s the second landing on a floating barge.
SpaceX Falcon 9 landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship owned by the SpaceX Company. Its curious name comes from the General Contact Units spacecraft commanded by AI in The Player of Games novel, by Iain M. Banks.
The booster’s mission target was to set the Japanese commercial satellite, the JCSAT-14, into orbit; a process called “geostationary transfer orbit.” The spacecraft belongs to SKY Perfect – a Japanese television and communication corporation who’s plan is to deliver Internet services and broadcasting to Japan and other countries.
The service will be done through the help of the spacecraft drifting in the geostationary orbit 22,000 miles from Earth.
Traveling two times the speed of its previous prototypes, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket needed an addition of two engines to “minimize gravity losses,” – like Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, tweeted.
Its specs made the booster subject to higher temperatures during descent and less fuel for the return, but it was all carefully designed for the mission’s primary goal.
The first next step now is to transfer the booster back to SpaceX headquarters for inspection and further testing.
After the successful descent and recovery, the 140-foot tall rocket is now included in the general SpaceX plan to launch again. Its previous SpaceX “sibling”, the CRS-8 Dragon recovered in April, will probably qualify for another mission re-launch in this year’s June. This mission is the 3rd landing scenario SpaceX masters, after the one in December 2015 and the previous in April.
With the rockets being programmed to land themselves back to the drone ship or landing pad, they all returned, to Musk’s delight, safely as expected.
According to the company’s announcements, they plan to “ramp up” the launches and send rockets every 2-3 weeks by the end of the year.
It’s incredible what these private companies can accomplish with their funds. The success of SpaceX Falcon 9 mission and its precursors have now set the bar higher for our expectations.
Image source: Flickr