Thursday, May 04, 2017

Cool images and video of the latest, increasingly routine SpaceX soft landing

The latest SpaceX launch placed a satellite in orbit and the first-stage rocket soft-landed on a barge. Successful recovery of first stage rockets seems to be becoming routine for SpaceX and that will significantly reduce the cost of launching a satellite, bringing us closer to the dream of low-cost Internet access at every point on Earth.

When the Falcon 9 reached an altitude of 72.6 kilometers, the first stage separated and began falling toward Earth.

Separation and adjustment

Following separation, there were frequent nitrogen-thruster bursts to keep the rocket vertical and position it directly above the landing barge.

Nitrogen thruster adjustment at 160 kilometers

When the first stage had fallen to 61.9 kilometers, it's rocket engines were fired to slow it's decent. The following images show the view from the ground and from the rocket.

Engines fire to slow descent

The rocket has touched down -- speed is 0 km/hour and the altitude is 0 km.

The above images were taken from this 8-minute video which begins at the time of stage-separation and runs through the soft landing on the barge:

For a 22-minute video beginning with the launch and running through the soft landing, click here.

Update 9/4/2017

SpaceX has made landing a 549,054 kg rocket that is 70 feet long and only 3.66 meters in diameter and has reached an altitude of 247 km and fallen at a speed of up to Mach 7.9 within .7 m of the target on a drone barge at sea almost routine. You can see 15 pictures of a recovered rocket being brought back to Hawthorne California for refurbishing here.