The SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage booster that successfully launched a Japanese satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) just 3 days ago and then nailed a safe middle of the night touchdown on a drone ship at sea minutes minutes later, is headed back to port and may arrive overnight or soon thereafter.
The 156 foot tall booster was spotted offshore earlier today while being towed back to her home port at Port Canaveral, Florida.
The SpaceX ASDS drone ship with the recovered Falcon 9 first stage rocket is lurking off Port Canaveral waiting to enter the port until after the cruise ships depart for safety reasons. Pictured above at 7:40 a.m.
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The upgraded SpaceX Falcon 9 soared to orbit on May 6, roaring to life with 1.5 million pounds of thrust on a mission carrying the JCSAT-14 commercial communications satellite, following an on time liftoff at 1:21 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl.
To date SpaceX has recovered 3 Falcon 9 first stages. But this was the first one to be recovered from the much more demanding, high velocity trajectory delivering a satellite to GTO.
“First landed booster from a GTO-class mission (final spacecraft altitude will be about 36,000 km),” tweeted SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.
Musk was clearly ecstatic with the result, since SpaceX officials had been openly doubtful of a successful outcome with the landing.
Barely nine minutes after liftoff the Falcon 9 first stage carried out a propulsive soft landing on an ocean going platform located some 400 miles off the east coast of Florida.
The drone ship was named “Of Course I Still Love You.”
The Falcon 9 landed dead center in the bullseye.
Check out the incredible views herein from SpaceX of the Falcon 9 sailing serenely atop the “Of Course I Still Love You.”
Relive the launch through these pair of videos from remote video cameras set at the SpaceX launch pad 40 facility.
Video caption: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of JCSAT-14 on May 6, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
Video caption: SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of JCSAT-14 on 5/6/2016 Pad 40 CCAFS. Credit: Jeff Seibert/AmericaSpace
The commercial SpaceX launch lofted the JCSAT-14 Japanese communications satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) for SKY Perfect JSAT – a leading satellite operator in the Asia – Pacific region.
The landing counts as nother stunning success for Elon Musk’s vision of radically slashing the cost of sending rocket to space by recovering the boosters and eventually reusing them.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.
4 Replies to “Recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Headed Back to Port: Launch/Landing – Photos/Videos”
I understand why the exterior of the stage is so dirty (sooty?) after landing. But why, in all three landings, is the bottom third of the stage, starting just above the S in Spacex, so dirty in a perfect fashion around the circumference of the stage?
The stage is clean above the S because this is where the LOX tank sits above the kerosene tank. Ice buildup on the outside of the LOX tank prevents the soot from staining the hull.
You can even see the soot gradient because the LOX gets used up from top to bottom of course.
That makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explanation.
YES! Thanks for the videos.. I just LOVE to hear the sound of a roaring rocket! In this case, NINE engines/rockets roaring as one! Better still is a recording of the entire flight regimen. There’s a crackling roar at extreme altitudes that reminds of the power of thunder and lightning!
p.s. Crank it UP!
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