tech2 News StaffAug 07, 2019 11:00:16 IST
The novelty of launching and landing a booster vertically, and then launching it again, appears to have worn off for SpaceX, but it sure is odd to watch a SpaceX launch that doesn't end in a satisfying booster landing. In a first, SpaceX launched an expendable, twice-flown Falcon 9 rocket on a satellite launch mission on 6 August and captured the rocket's fairing for reuse in future missions.
Lifting off from Pad 40 in Florida, the Falcon 9 launched the third flight by the Falcon 9 booster. It was also the 25th time a SpaceX vehicle was reflown in an orbital launch. The company successfully launched an Israeli communication satellite, AMOS-17, on a twice-flown Falcon 9. The AMOS-17 satellite, the mission payload, is an Israeli communication satellite built to support broadcast, broadband, and data services in Africa.
The Falcon 9 booster supporting the mission previously flew in support of the Telstar 19 VANTAGE in July 2018 and Es'hail-2 launch in November 2018.
Rocket fairing falls from space & is caught by Ms Tree boat pic.twitter.com/nJv0Ry1iKk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2019
As planned, SpaceX retired the thrice-used Falcon 9 booster from service after the 87-minute launch sequence. At the moment, thrice is the maximum number of times a Falcon 9 can be reused without complications. However, the nose cone of the Falcon 9 (where the payload is housed), was returned safely for reuse in future missions, pending a little fixing up.
SpaceX caught the vehicle's nose cone after it fell back to Earth — the first time the company has ever attempted and pulled off such a feat. The fairing broke away in space and glided back to the surface tied to a parachute, where it was captured by SpaceX's boat — Ms Tree boat (Mystery boat, get it?) — retrofitted with a giant net. This recovery is something SpaceX experimented with at the start of the year with their other fairing capture boat, Mr Steven.
One of Mr. Steven’s final West Coast fairing recovery tests before shipping out for the East Coast. Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/A7q37Gpllu
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 30, 2019
It was only just two and a half years ago that SpaceX first reused a Falcon 9 rocket stage, in the historic launch of the SES-10 communications satellite. SpaceX has now made reuse old news, having launched previously-flown Falcon 9 first stages more than two dozen times.
Next on the agenda for the SpaceX is getting its Starhopper to hop right — without bursting into flames, that is.
Find our entire collection of stories, in-depth analysis, live updates, videos & more on Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission on our dedicated #Chandrayaan2TheMoon domain.