Saturday a SpaceX rocket completed the company’s fourth successful landing at sea (watched by over 100,000 viewers on YouTube and Flickr). Saturday’s landing means Elon Musk’s company has now recovered more than half the rockets they’ve launched. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Saturday’s report from The Verge:
Tonight’s landing was particularly challenging for SpaceX… The Falcon 9 had to carry its onboard satellite — called JCSAT-16 — into…a highly elliptical orbit that takes the satellite 20,000 miles out beyond Earth’s surface. Getting to GTO requires a lot of speed and uses up a lot of fuel during take off, more so than getting to lower Earth orbit. That makes things difficult for the rocket landing afterward…there’s less fuel leftover for the vehicle to reignite its engines and perform the necessary landing maneuvers.
CEO Elon Musk said the company is aiming to launch its first landed rocket sometime this fall…SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, estimates that reusing these landed Falcon 9 vehicles will lead to a 30 percent reduction in launch costs.
SpaceX named their drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.”
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