Yesterday we told you about Elon Musk’s Space X attempting to land Falcon 9 after the rocket had been to space and deployed 11 Orbcomm satellites. Today Space X goes into the history books for completing the mission successfully.
At 8:29pm ET (thats 3:33am our time) Falcon 9 launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Falcon 9 that launched last night was very different from the Falcon 9 that disintegrated in June. Dubbed, Falcon 9 Full Thrust, the rocket features 33% more performance, liquid oxygen as a propellant chilled to -340 degrees Fahrenheit and an extended second and interstage.
Space X also cooled the kerosene fuel to 20 degrees Fahrenheit according to a report on the New York Times.
What made this flight so special is what happened once the rocket had breached our atmosphere the first stage of rocket returned to earth to land.
A mere ten minutes after launch Falcon 9’s first stage returned home and in a homage to films and cartoons in the 70’s and 80’s, landed vertically which is a first for the company and a feat many space agencies said was impossible.
Falcon 9 Full Thrust landed on an area 2/3 of a mile wide far larger than the floating landing pad in the ocean Space X has used in the past.
What this means in the greater scheme of things is that rockets could be reused making space travel more financially viable.
You can watch the full livestream below which explains the technology behind Falcon 9 Full Thrust before lift off and then shows the rocket returning to land.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to revisit Kerbal Space Program.
[Image CC by 2.0 – SpaceX Photos]