At Last Sea-weet Success: SpaceX Sticks the Landing

Finally.. A Sea Hawk

Finally.. A Sea Hawk

The space age just got another red letter date added to its calendar.

In what may go down as a comeback for the ages, literally, SpaceX rebounded from last year’s loss of the CRS-7 mission on June 28th, 2014 with a flawless liftoff of the CRS-8 Dragon capsule, and more importantly in the long run, a successful landing of the Falcon 9 first stage aboard a drone ship standing off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The landing, captured by an aerial drone in stunningly clear video shot on a beautiful late afternoon, comes after multiple near misses, including one off the California coast in January which touched down successfully, but then collapsed due to a failure of the landing gear. That mission, the Jason-3 launch, was the last to employ a Falcon 9 V1.1, which was equipped with an older version of the landing gear. Next up came the March 4th SES-9 mission, which although utilizing an improved design on a Falcon 9 FT, fell short due to lack of enough propellant on a high-risk, high-speed entry off the Bahamas.

Today’s outcome was vastly different however, underscoring a fundamental truth of rocketry. Even though the Falcon 9 was lofting its most heavily loaded Dragon capsule to date, there was just enough propellant to secure what only a few minutes before was a ridiculously improbable landing aboard a tiny spot in an enormous ocean.

Now it is a proven capability. Pending available propellant, and at least modestly acceptable weather at sea, (never a sure thing) SpaceX will be able to make good on its ambitions to recover the majority of Falcon 9 first stages it flings into the sky.

And that means the sky is no longer the limit.


The hosted webcast. Landing begins at 35:57

Posted in: SpaceX

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4 Comments on "At Last Sea-weet Success: SpaceX Sticks the Landing"

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  1. Keith says:

    That was awesome!!! Thank you Space X for doing all the hard work!!!

  2. Keith Pickering says:

    Absolutely brilliant work by SpaceX.

    Meanwhile, Ariane 64 hopes to match current Falcon-9 price-per-kg to orbit by 2020. By which time, Falcon-9 will be 30% cheaper, or less. And Ariane 64 won’t be competing against Falcon-9 for launches anyway, it will be going up against Falcon Heavy, which is already anticipated to be half of Falcon-9’s cost-per-lb. And that’s without reusability.

    Playing catch-up without really catching up …

  3. PK Sink says:

    Beam launching…Falcon landing…What a day!

  4. Art says:

    Awesome day for SpaceX and spaceflight. ISS will soon have 6 vv’s parked at its ports. Two of which will be U.S. commercial cargo vehicles. Once the U.S. start flying crew vehicles again, the ghost of the space shuttle will be put to rest.

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