It took a few tries, but SpaceX has finally worked out the kinks. Welcome to the future of reusable space technology.
After four near misses, the company has finally nailed a water landing with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. Friday evening’s landing marks SpaceX’s second successful landing of a reusable rocket, following a previous effort that successfully brought a Falcon 9 home at Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX has been fine-tuning the design after every previous attempt, and founder Elon Musk noted the latest edition has higher performance than the prior version due mostly to increased boost thrust, a deeper cryo-oxidizer and a much larger upper-stage engine bell. It also has a number of reliability enhancements, such as a redundant stage separation system and greater structural safety margins. To soften the landing, the new Falcon 9’s use four grid fins in an X-wing configuration.
Put simply: Nailing a water landing like this is like hitting a bullseye on a dart board from five miles away in a hurricane. The amount of finesse required is positively astounding. Even the president himself took notice.
With Blue Origin also doing one heck of a good job bringing its shorter distance (though still very impressive) rocket flights back for land landings, SpaceX’s latest accomplishment is just one more feather in the cap for the future of space exploration.
Check out the successful landing below and let us know what you think: