Sunday, January 15, 2017

SpaceX Falcon Returns to Flight

Falcon 9 rocket on the pad at Vandenberg AFB. Credit: SpaceX.
Last September in 2016, a Falcon rocket exploded during a pad engine test, prompting a cancellation of SpaceX flights until the cause could be determined. Engineers eventually discovered the fault was in a construction error in the second stage liquid oxygen tank. With the corrections having been completed, a new rocket was prepared for the launch of a series of communications satellites.
Blast off from California. Perfect launch.
Credit: SpaceX.
Shortly before 10 am (Pacific time), SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium satellites from its pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast. The first stage separated on time and the second stage carried the swarm of satellites into their planned orbits.

Touchdown! Falcon first stage lands on a barge in the Pacific. Credit: SpaceX.
As usual, SpaceX continues its mission to perfect landings of the rocket first stage, so it can be used again later. This time the rocket stage landed in the Pacific Ocean, on the landing barge named "Just Read The Instructions." This was the first successful landing in the Pacific. Four have landed in the Atlantic on board the landing barge "Of Course I Love You." Another successful landing took place in Texas on land.
You can read more details about this mission at at

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