“The Falcon has landed,” these were the words of a launch commentator during SpaceX’s webcast just as applause erupted from SpaceX’s California headquarters, followed by cheers and chants of “USA.! USA! USA!” They’ve done it! Elon Musk, present at the launch site in Florida, initially thought the rocket had actually crashed with an explosion, but later learned that it had landed in one piece. This was a huge success.
If you’ve been following SpaceX with us: HERE, you’ll know that this successful landing has been long awaited. This truly marks a turning point in the future of space travel.
SpaceX has upgraded its design for the Falcon 9 rocket, and the upgrades were definitely worth it as it worked flawlessly. Some of the changes?
From the New York Times:
The liquid oxygen was chilled to minus 340 degrees Fahrenheit, about 40 degrees colder than on earlier flights, and the kerosene fuel was cooled to 20 degrees instead of 70 degrees. Mr. Musk explained last week via Twitter that the lower temperatures improved performance of the rocket engines.
This landing follows two failed attempts at landing the Falcon 9 boosters. The previous attempts were to land on a floating platform in the Atlantic. Neither attempt was successful. The first ended in a crash landing and the second ended up tipping over. This is a huge move forward in the world of space technology. The cost related to traveling to space could be exponentially reduced if refurbishing and relaunching rocket stages becomes the norm. Although they’ve had one successful landing, this is a process that will certainly take a good amount of time to streamline.
Although SpaceX and Musk certainly have a large amount of work ahead, this is certainly a huge milestone to note in this process. Have you been following along with SpaceX and Elon Musk? What do you think their next move will be? Do you see this as a huge win for them? Comment below!