SpaceX on Sunday successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket for the sixth time.
The two-stage spacecraft left Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Sunday morning, carrying commercial communications satellite JCSAT-16 to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
As detailed by the SpaceX Twitter account, the process went smoothly: With the Falcon 9 first-stage entry burn underway, JCSAT-16 continued into orbit. The Space Systems Loral (SSL) telecommunications satellite carried Ku-band and Ka-band transponders, which will function as an in-orbit backup to Tokyo-based SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation’s existing services.
SpaceX’s reusable rocket, meanwhile, braved extreme velocities and re-entry heating to land safely on Of Course I Still Love You, a ship stationed a few hundred miles from Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.
Traditionally, capsules crash into the ocean because getting them to land upright and intact is a complicated engineering feat. But getting it right means space firms like SpaceX can save money and time by reusing rockets rather than deploying new ones for each flight.
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SOURCE: PC Mag, Stephanie Mlot