SpaceX launch

SpaceX lands Falcon 9 rocket on Pacific Ocean-based droneship in worst weather yet

Contributed by
Jul 25, 2018

Today, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its second-to-last shipment of 10 Iridium satellites into space, as part of the company's goal to establish "Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT," according to an official press release. This was SpaceX's 14th launch of the year with the company flying a new "Block 5 Booster." 

The launch occured at 4:39 a.m. (PDT) from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Carrying the satellites was a Falcon 9 rocket, whose payload disengaged itself an hour after launch. Following this, the company planned to land the rocket on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship in Pacific Ocean and while they were successful, it took place under some of the worst weather conditions yet. 

"The weather in the Pacific is bad ... We have choppy seas, so today's landing attempt is going to be very iffy," said SpaceX spokesperson John Insprucker during the launch stream. "The weather and the sea conditions are fairly rough, they're the worst that we've ever had for trying to get a first stage back on the drone ship ... No one has attempted to recover a faring out of the air before, it's super difficult."

Watch the full hour-and-a-half launch stream below:

Two tweets later confirmed that the payload made it into orbit and the rocket had been recovered successfully.

Iridium Communications curated a special Spotfiy playlist specifically for the launch, which includes "Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys and "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra.