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Friday, April 8, 2016
SpaceX Sticks the Landing
Image courtesy of SpaceX
Friday, April 8, 2016, the history of rocketry changed forever. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's first stage successfully launched and returned to stick the landing on the drone barge in choppy seas. It was a heart-pounding approach, with the first stage coming in fast and at an angle as it approached. At the last possible moment, the reusable rocket righted itself and made a perfect three point landing. For a couple seconds there I have to admit I waited for that first stage to do a slow roll over to one side or the other in those choppy seas, but she stood tall on the deck and remained upright. Now, the Falcon 9 has been proven to be able to return on land and sea both, making it possible to recover rocket stages on a variety of trajectories at launch. Further, landing at sea instead of returning to land uses less fuel and will be far more efficient. If this can be repeated regularly, and become routine, the cost of heading for the high frontier will be greatly reduced. Congratulations to everyone at SpaceX for making what was science fiction, science fact. What a great day.