SpaceX lands Falcon 9 rocket on water for first time
Iran Press TV
Sat Apr 9, 2016 2:4AM
The SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has successfully managed to land safely on the platform of a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, after four previous attempts at water touchdown ended in failure.
"The first stage of the Falcon 9 just landed on our Of Course I Still Love You drone ship," SpaceX wrote on Twitter on Friday, after the rocket delivered a load of supplies -- weighing nearly 3,100 kilograms (7,000 pounds) -- for the astronauts living at the International Space Station.
The company's only successful attempt to land a reusable rocket was carried out on solid ground.
The Falcon 9 rocket does not travel straight upward into space but follows a parabolic arc up and away from the launch pad. If it is supposed to conduct a ground landing, it requires a lot of extra fuel to completely turn around and then fly back all the vertical and horizontal distance it had covered to get back to the launch site.
But landing on a drone ship floating on the ocean means that the rocket does not have to travel all the way back to the ground site.
Moreover, the barge can locate itself in an ideal position to catch the vehicle on its more natural path back to the Earth and hence save more fuel for the rocket and prevent it from performing additional maneuvers.
"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space," said Elon Musk, founder and owner of SpaceX company.
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