Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



LAUNCH PAD
SpaceX lands rocket on ocean platform for first time
By Kerry SHERIDAN
Miami (AFP) April 8, 2016


After four failed bids SpaceX finally stuck the landing Friday, powering the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket onto an ocean platform where it touched down upright after launching cargo to space.

Images of the tall, narrow rocket gliding down serenely onto a platform that SpaceX calls a droneship sparked applause and screams of joy at SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California.

"The first stage of the Falcon 9 just landed on our Of Course I Still Love You droneship," SpaceX wrote on Twitter, after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 4:43 pm (2043 GMT).

NASA spokesman George Diller confirmed that the rocket had successfully landed, just minutes after the Falcon 9 propelled the unmanned Dragon cargo craft to orbit, carrying supplies for astronauts at the International Space Station.

SpaceX has once before managed to set the rocket down on land, but ocean attempts had failed, with the rocket coming close each time but either crashing or tipping over.

Speaking to reporters afterward, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that being able to return costly rocket parts for repeated use, instead of jettisoning them into the ocean after each launch, will make spaceflight less expensive and less harmful to the environment.

"It is just as fundamental in rocketry as it is in other forms of transport such as cars or planes or bicycles or anything," said Musk, who also runs Tesla Motors.

Musk said it costs around $300,000 to fuel a rocket, but $60 million to build one.

"If you have got a rocket that can be fully and rapidly reused, it is somewhere on the order of a 100-fold cost reduction, in marginal costs," he said, adding that he hoped his competitors would follow suit.

- Obama leads praise -

President Barack Obama led the praise, tweeting: "Congrats SpaceX on landing a rocket at sea. It's because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration."

Also on Twitter, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said: "Landed! That is amazing! World-leading ability, proven.

"Opens the imagination to what is possible."

Friday's breakthrough came after a closely watched return-to-flight mission, SpaceX's first cargo delivery since June 2015, when the Falcon 9 exploded just over two minutes after liftoff, destroying the rocket and the supply ship.

SpaceX blamed the blast on a faulty strut in the Falcon 9's upper booster, which allowed a helium bottle to snap loose, causing the explosion of the rocket, cargo ship and all its contents.

It has since upgraded its Falcon 9 rocket and changed its protocol to avoid a repeat.

This time, the gumdrop-shaped capsule was packed with nearly 7,000 pounds (3,100 kilos) of supplies for the astronauts living in orbit.

The Dragon's cargo includes an inflatable space room astronauts will test in microgravity.

Known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, the chamber will be temporarily attached to the space station.

Lab mice for experiments and lettuce seeds for growing at the orbiting outpost were also included in the spacecraft, which should arrive at the International Space Station early Sunday.

- 'Proven it can work' -

Musk said the rocket was being welded onto the droneship with metal shoes, so as not to tip over as it made its way back to land.

Next, the booster will undergo a series of tests, including 10 static fires on the launchpad, before engineers decide if it is in good enough shape to fly again.

If so, the next launch of the same booster could be in the next two to three months, Musk said.

"In the future, hopefully we will be able to relaunch them in a few weeks."

In the meantime, SpaceX will keep working on perfecting its landing techniques, whether on ocean or solid ground, since both options need to be available to suit different types of missions.

Musk said about half of SpaceX's rockets will need to land at sea, and it might take a few years to work out all the kinks.

"But I think it is proven that it can work," he said.

"We will get it to a point where it is routine to bring it back and the only changes to the rocket are to hose it down, give it a wash, add the propellant and fly it again."


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
LAUNCH PAD
Reusing Falcon 9 boosters would slash costs by 30 percent
Washington DC (Sputnik) Apr 05, 2016
If the SpaceX aerospace manufacturer manages to reuse its Falcon 9 rockets, it could decrease the cost of space launches by 30 percent, the President and Chief operating officer of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, said. SpaceX launches would cost $43 million instead of the current $61 million if the US manufacturer makes progress in rocket reusability, Shotwell said as cited by Popular Science on ... read more


LAUNCH PAD
The Moon thought to play a major role in maintaining Earth's magnetic field

Moon Mission: A Blueprint for the Red Planet

The Lunar Race That Isn't

Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago

LAUNCH PAD
Help keep heat on Mars Express through data mining

Ancient Mars bombardment likely enhanced life-supporting habitat

Opportunity's Devilish View from on High

Mars Longevity Champion Launched 15 Years Ago

LAUNCH PAD
Spanish port becomes global 'smart city' laboratory

Silicon Beach: LA tech hub where the sun always shines

New DNA/RNA Tool to Diagnose, Treat Diseases

ASU to develop the next generation science education courseware for NASA

LAUNCH PAD
Lessons learned from Tiangong 1

China launches SJ-10 retrievable space science probe

Has Tiangong 1 gone rogue

China's 1st space lab Tiangong-1 ends data service

LAUNCH PAD
Dragon and Cygnus To Meet For First Time In Space

Russian cargo ship docks successfully with space station

Russia launches cargo ship to space station

Cargo ship reaches space station on resupply run

LAUNCH PAD
Atlas V OA-6 Anomaly Status

Boeing takes steps to block sale of Sea Launch

Reusing Falcon 9 boosters would slash costs by 30 percent

NASA Progresses Toward SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station

LAUNCH PAD
ALMA's most detailed image of a protoplanetary disc

Searching for Far Out and Wandering Worlds

Planet formation in Earth-like orbit around a young star

NASA's Spitzer Maps Climate Patterns on a Super-Earth

LAUNCH PAD
Record-breaking steel could be used for body armor, shields for satellites

Light helps develop programmable materials

Upgrade to offer power boost to world's brightest X-ray laser

Artificial molecules




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






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