Monday, December 21, 2015
Space X Finally Lands its Falcon 9 First Stage Back on Earth
A private company, Space X, has, finally, managed to safely land the first stage of its Falcon 9 spacecraft back on Earth in Florida while successfully deploying several satellites into Earth orbit. The Falcon 9 upper stage booster, however, will not be recovered which, of course, makes this spacecraft only partially reusable-- just as NASA's Space Shuttle was.
NASA, of course, operated its partially reusable crewed spacecraft (the Space Shuttle) for more than 30 years, recovering the reusable space plane (Space Shuttle Orbiter) and twin solid rocket boosters (SRBs) after every flight. But the dramatically lower cost that was predicted for the Space Shuttle program never came to fruition thanks to a couple of fatal accidents and a high launch demand that never became a reality-- for both commercial and political reasons.
It should also be noted that NASA's cancelled Ares I program was also supposed to have a recoverable and reusable first stage based on the legacy of the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters.
The next step for Space X will be to refurbish the recovered Falcon 9 booster and its engines in order see if the first stage booster can successfully fly again and be successfully recovered again. How costly and reliable-- and safe-- a refurbished Falcon 9 booster will be is the next question for Space X. But recovering the Falcon 9 first stage while also successfully launching its payloads into orbit is a major milestone for a private space launch company.
Space X duly deserves to be congratulated for accomplishing this first important phase in its goal towards a reusable space launch vehicle!
Marcel F. Williams
Links and References
SpaceX landing a 'feat' but not yet a game-changer, expert says
SpaceX's Triumphant Rocket Landing Could Revolutionize Spaceflight
Falcon 9 and Blue Origin Booster Landings:Compared and Contrasted
SpaceX landing highlights promise, challenges of rocket reusability
SpaceX rocket landing applauded, but experts say implications TBD
Spaceflight is on the Verge of a Revolution, but don’t Count your Rockets Before they Land
- ► 2018 (23)
- ► 2017 (25)
- ► 2016 (34)
- ▼ December (3)
- ► 2014 (32)
- ► 2013 (42)
- ► 2012 (45)
- ► 2011 (62)
- ► 2010 (91)
- ► 2009 (74)
by Marcel F. Williams Artist rendition of ULA's future upper stage precursor to the IVF modified ACES 68, accommodating 68 tonnes ...
Nuclear Synfuel Economy The Methanol Economy Gasoline from Air & Water
Notional MADV on the surface of Mars (Credit: Lockheed Martin) by Marcel F. Williams At the 68th International Astronautical Congress...
M ore than 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, referred to the elephant as "the beast which passeth all others in wit an...
by Marcel F. Williams Congress has now made it clear that they want the immediate development of a heavy lift vehicle and a crew explorat...
The near side of the Moon by Marcel F. Williams A t the bottom of the world lies an icy continent larger than Europe-- but with only 5...
Siting Ocean Nuclear Power Plants in Remote US Territorial Waters for the Carbon Neutral Production of Synfuels and Industrial ChemicalsUS island territorial waters most suitable for floating nuclear synplexes: Uninhabited islands: Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll ...
Computer illustration of Near Rectilinear Orbits between EML1 and EML2 (Credit: NASA). N ASA appears to have settled on a Near Rectil...