by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 14, 2016
SpaceX successfully landed a reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a floating drone ship at sea early Sunday after the vehicle had sent a Japanese communications satellite into orbit.
The California-based company's eighth launch this year was part of its ongoing effort to re-use costly rocket parts instead of jettisoning them into the ocean.
It was also the fourth time SpaceX has vertically landed a used Falcon 9 rocket aboard a floating platform at sea.
The white rocket launched under a dark night sky from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:26 am (0526 GMT).
Less than three minutes into the flight, the rocket's main stage separated as planned, with SpaceX mission control erupting in cheers as live video showed the moves.
Around six minutes later, the first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, drawing more cheers at mission control.
The vertical landing on the reconverted deck barge in the Atlantic Ocean was especially challenging because the JCSAT-16 satellite had to be carried into a highly elliptical orbit some 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth's equator.
"The first stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing challenging," Space Exploration Technologies Corporation -- SpaceX's full name -- said prior to the mission.
The communications satellite will help provide more stable satellite services for video distribution and data transfer communications in Asia, Russia, Oceania, Middle East and North America.
It was the second JCSAT satellite SpaceX has launched in four months for satellite operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk wants to revolutionize the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|