SpaceX makes history, successfully lands reusable rocket on drone ship for the first time

By Shawn Knight
Apr 8, 2016
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  1. SpaceX has successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ever.

    Late last year, SpaceX successfully landed its reusable rocket on land at Cape Canaveral. Each of the company’s four previous attempts to land on a floating barge, however, have resulted in catastrophic failure. A resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) last June also ended poorly as the rocket exploded over the Atlantic a little over two minutes into the mission.

    (Skip ahead to the 35:36 mark)

    The rocket approached the autonomous spaceport drone ship, cleverly named “Of Course I Still Love You,” decelerated at the proper rate and nailed the landing. A livestream from SpaceX headquarters documented the event as it unfolded with a live shot of the drone ship for all to see. As you can imagine, the staff went absolutely nuts.

    What's ironic here is the fact that the relanding isn't even the primary objective of the mission. The CRS-8 Dragon Resupply Mission is tasked with sending the Dragon spacecraft to low Earth orbit to deliver critical cargo to the ISS. As of writing, the mission is still ongoing as the ship works to chase down and attach to the ISS, something SpaceX says will take place in about two days.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2016
  2. At least if it did crash and burn it wouldn't have mattered because they have the data.
    Panda218 likes this.
  3. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,322   +263

    No such thing as absolute failure, only MOAR DATA. Still, it was very cool and I watched the first stage land live on the stream they had going.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    I read a blurb somewhere which said Musk wanted to "sell the used boosters". Well, I wouldn't put it past him to be the world's first, "used rocket salesman".

    (The above post contains elements of fact and fiction based on my predilection of story telling).
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,514   +676

    It will also be interesting to learn just how many times those boosters can be reused before coming to their maximum safe useable life AND if they will be reusing the boosters for ANY flights or only cargo carrying flights. If he generates enough cash from the sale of used boosters to offset the costs going into new equipment it would reduce the cost but one has to wonder, just how many "used booster buyers" are out there. I do know that North Korea is desperately looking for boosters that can clear their borders ... on a regular basis. Hmmmmm .... didn't the US have an issue with selling Japan scrap metals before WW2 due to them sending it back to us in the form of bombs, bullets, planes and ships? sheeeeezzzeeeeeeee
    captaincranky likes this.
  6. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 132   +34

    Falcon 9 and its motors will never be used at anything other than cargo. The nature of design and failure rate is calculated into the design from the start. To send people with their rockets and engines to ISS and beyond the design, refurbish and evaluation process must change considerably. This means many times more money. But give them time... at the rate they successfully develop, design and "de-bug", all is possible.
  7. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,526   +830

    they already have big plans in motion to use falcon 9 for passengers? they did abort tests for their Dragon capsule a few months ago.

    (read the payload part)
  8. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 132   +34

    Ok, my bad. I know about the dragon capsule and the success they had, but I thought they would still do a mayor redesign/upgrade of the falcon 9 before trying. Actually this is the third major revision already, basically the name stayed the same, much was upgraded apparently. But still to carry passengers to space for NASA, the design really needs to be bulletproof with much lower failure rate, even if the abort system works flawlessly. So yeah, more money and a few more years...
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    Fixed....! ^^^^
    Robinson Ochoa and SuperVeloce like this.
  10. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 132   +34

    Well... at least it costs less than managing toilet/restrooms at NASA headquarters. So there's that ;)
    captaincranky likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    It's not the ground based crappers which are the problem. Now those outer space potties, are about a million bucks a pop.:eek:
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  12. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,113   +1,377

    So if you just want to send a fresh pizza to ISS, a ballista should suffice, given the risk? :)

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    As long as you take into consideration you might wind up having to honor a, "it's there in 30 minutes or it's free", guarantee..
    VitalyT likes this.
  14. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 132   +34

    Sure, why not... if you have a secondary fine-control system for maneuvering to and around ISS and fine docking procedures...
  15. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +308

    To save money, Russia tried an automated docking system to resupply Mir, it crashed into Mir depressurizing the station and damaging the solar array. As far as space toilets go, here is one of the two on Mir:
    "Liquid waste was evacuated by a hose connected to the front of the toilet, with anatomically appropriate "urine funnel adapters" attached to the tube so both men and women could use the same toilet. Waste was collected and transferred to the Water Recovery System, where it was recycled back into drinking water, although this was usually used to produce oxygen via the Elektron system."
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    So how much did it cost, assuming "batteries not included"? ;):cool:
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,462   +1,760

    Boy did I underestimate that! Although in my own defense, the "million dollars a toilet" was from a story I saw on TV decades ago. The US' latest models, (Russian built), are $19,000,000. "bucks a plop", so to speak. :oops:
    @SuperVeloce At that price, one has to assume the corruption, inefficiency, and waste (pun intended), you alluded to, plus a hefty dose of inflation, have indeed taken their toll with respect to poop management on the once exalted agency.

    Google lists this as a related question, "how do female astronauts menstruate in space". Heretofore, I had assumed they simply sprayed the furniture, the same as any other wildcat species in captivity. Not so! Learn more....@
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  18. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,159   +67

    "(Skip ahead to the 35:36 mark)" - the landing was around 27:25.

    Pretty impressive landing. Well done.
  19. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +308

    The part about waste being collected, transferred to a recovery system back into drinking water is what caught my eye. I know purification to 100% water is easy, but it still seems grim

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